Fifty-eight carries in a five-day span is a massive burden for any NFL running back. But that running back in this scenario is the Chargers' Ryan Mathews , who couldn't even make it through one preseason series before suffering a serious shoulder injury last year and has been bitten by the injury bug numerous times during his four-year career. But after Weeks 14 and 15, is head coach Mike McCoy worried that he is calling upon Mathews too often? Not so much.
"He has done a great job of monitoring his body all year long and taking care of himself," McCoy said last week about Mathews. "Like I said ... if he can handle it, he is going to take it."
Mathews carried the ball 29 times each against the Giants and Broncos. He topped 100 yards and scored in both games. One of the reasons why I think Mathews is playing really well is because he is no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop. Earlier this year, I think he ran tentatively, expecting another part of his body to give out. But that's not happening, and you see a more confident Mathews on the field, one much closer to the player whom the Chargers thought they were getting when they traded way up in the first round of the 2010 draft.
Mathews is coming off a well-deserved 10-day break and has a cake matchup at home against the Raiders. You might have heard about a certain Chiefs running back doing pretty well against the Raiders last week. Although that man found most of his success as a receiver and was pretty much held in check on the ground, the carry count is going to be there for Mathews to be a strong RB2 this week.