Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has fumbled 11 times in 27 career games. His latest came with San Diego inside the the Falcons' 10-yard line, driving for a go-ahead score early in the second quarter Sunday. From that point on, the Chargers didn't get into the red zone until late in the fourth quarter when the Falcons were ahead, 27-3. Head coach Norv Turner knows that Mathews is his most talented running back, maybe his most talented offensive player. But he won't put up with game-changing turnovers. Turner said Monday that Mathews' fumbles might lead to less playing time.
"You know, we have a number of [running backs] who are capable," Turner said. "So while we're getting Ryan to where he can play an extended period and protect the ball, there are certain situations where we can limit his exposures."
To me, that sounds like a cut in red zone touches or carries near the goal line. Just guessing, but I guess we'll find out the next time Mathews lets another ball fall to the carpet. Jackie Battle might fill that role after scoring twice in Week 2.
Mathews was a big fantasy bust on Sunday, but it was encouraging that he got 15 touches in his debut and came away fine. He would have gotten more work if the Falcons hadn't opened up a 20-point lead by halftime. Mathews is a quality play this Sunday at Kansas City, but I'm interested to find out where he'll be when the Chargers close in on the end zone -- in the backfield or on the sidelines?