Ryan Mathews was the mop-up man and then smiled about it.
It’s not what everyone else expected. It’s not what he expected.
But he knows better now.
“It’s realizing I’m not going to come in and rush for 3,000 yards and six touchdowns a game,” Mathews said. “The reality is everyone is a pro. I’m not in college anymore. They’re really coming. It’s going to take a few games and some play to really get locked in and learn. Everything is kind of new. I just realized it, and I’m going with it.”
He said this after a day in which he scored his first NFL touchdown but didn’t start. The Chargers’ first-round draft pick had 55 yards on nine carries, just more than half as many carries and half as many yards as Mike Tolbert’s 16 and 100.
“I’m committed to Ryan being our starting back, and he showed why,” head coach Norv Turner said. “… The right thing today was to start with Michael. He was going good, and Ryan gave them a little changeup.”