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Mathews Shows Punishing Nature on Big Stage
Put the ball in his hands and he becomes a man possessed.
Mathews is as physical and punishing a running back as they come in the NFL. While his superb play this season seems to have gone unnoticed, his standout performance in front of a nationally televised audience sure had the entire football world talking.
Just four days after posting a career-high with 29 carries, Mathews matched that effort with another 29 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. In the process, he topped 1,000 yards for the season and also tied for the league lead with five games surpassing the 100-yard plateau.
“I was just trying to run hard,” he said. “Trying to get yards after the first hit and be able to make positive plays. Our main thing is make positive plays.”
He certainly did that time and time again. The first offensive play of the game showed his unique combination of strength and athleticism as he churned out 18 yards on the ground. The pièce de résistance was his 23-yard sprint out wide and up the left sideline that gave the Chargers a 24-10 advantage to kick off the second half.
“He’s just getting downhill,” said Nick Hardwick, who had one of the key blocks to spring Mathews for his touchdown. “He’s being very clear and concise with his cuts and just making it happen. He knows where he wants to go and he’s getting there in a hurry. It all starts up front, and he’s doing a hell of a job.”
While Mathews was pleased to hear he went over 1,000 yards on the season and tied for the league lead in 100-yard games, he made sure that everyone knew the offensive line deserves credit for his accomplishments.
“That’s good, (but) it’s not just me though,” he said. “It’s the whole team. I can’t really take credit for it. I’ve got to give it to the big guys up front. They’re doing a wonderful job week in and week out.”
After the game, the Broncos defenders were at a loss when asked to explain how to contain Mathews and his bruising style of play. In fact, they said they were performing exactly as they were asked, they just had no answer for the Chargers top rusher.
“He was just running the ball; he was just doing his thing,” said the Broncos Danny Trevathan. “There wasn’t anything wrong with the defense, he was just making plays.”