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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Tue., Nov. 24, 2015 10:00 AM PST
Bolts' Ground Game Paves Way to Victory
The Chargers run game turned the corner last week against Indianapolis with a stellar effort the entire team was proud of.
The emphasis all week long heading into Sunday’s game in Jacksonville was to prove that wasn’t a one-time occurrence. They wanted to prove they are a dangerous team capable of pounding the ball on the ground all game long.
San Diego had another phenomenal day on the ground spearheaded by their formidable three-headed rushing attack. Ryan Mathews paced all runners with 110 yards on 21 carries, averaging a potent 5.2 yards per carry, along with a three-yard touchdown run. Also scoring a rushing touchdown, the first of his Chargers' career, was Danny Woodhead, who also carried it nine times for 29 yards. Then there was the versatile Ronnie Brown who had three timely carries for 14 yards. Overall, the threesome along with Le’Ron McClain, Philip Rivers and Charlie Whitehurst combined for 158 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Handing the ball off 40 times also played a crucial role in dominating time of possession 37:30 to 22:30.
“A lot of work during the week – a good amount of energy, effort and attention to detail - pays off,” said Nick Hardwick. “We know our assignments and can execute them with a lot of gusto. Guys are coming out establishing it early, and when you do that you can keep running it and it opens everything up
While there are plenty of reasons for success and players who contributed, perhaps none was as impressive as Mathews. The powerful runner was at his best yet again, rushing for over 100-yards for the second consecutive game. He also registered a touchdown for the first time since Week 5 of 2012, having gone 255 carries between scores.
“It’s fun to score touchdowns obviously,” he said after the game. “It feels good to help the team win, but it really is a group effort. The running backs support each other. We feed off each other. When one of us is doing well we all want to do well. We’re just doing what we can to help the team.”
According to McClain, when Mathews is running the way he did Sunday, the Bolts are hard to beat.
“We know that if we get 24 rolling, he’s hard to stop,” he said. “He’s strong. He did a great job of getting his head on a hat. Ryan got over 100 yards for the second straight game, but we’re not satisfied. We want this to become a regular thing. That’s the goal.”
The fullback is one of the guys who takes the most pride in the run game, and in the locker room following the win he couldn’t hide his enthusiasm about the way the team is enforcing their will on the ground.
“We’re working hard at it,” McClain said. “The thing we wanted to do this week was build off last week. We want to continue to get those four or five yard runs. We want to make it easy for Philip (Rivers) on third downs by getting those yards on the first couple."