JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ryan Mathews broke tackles and ran hard, eclipsing 100 rushing yards for a second straight game.
But San Diego’s workhorse running back saved his best moves for after the game, quickly putting on a grey suit and packing his belongings as he tried to beat the rush of reporters.
Mathews enjoys talking about himself about as much as a dental phobic looks forward to a root canal, but he put up with a couple questions before exiting the locker room.
So what does rushing for 100 yards again mean to you?
“I don’t really think about it like that,” Mathews said following the Chargers' 24-6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. “As long as we got the win, that’s all that really matters -- being able to go into the bye week with a 'W' and a winning record feels good.”
OK, so how do you feel about the effective way your team is running the ball right now?
“The big guys up front are doing an amazing good job of opening up holes and pushing guys back,” Mathews said. “It’s pretty easy to run through holes that you can drive cars through.”
One of the guys responsible for opening up the big running lanes is offensive line utility man Rich Ohrnberger, who lifted Mathews off the ground after he bounced into the end zone for a 3-yard rushing touchdown in the second half.
“It’s important to do your job, regardless of the situation,” Ohrnberger said. “And for him (Mathews) to go out there, like all of the other guys in the backfield, and Phil (Rivers) passing his benchmark like he did -- just the guys behind us are so talented, they make our jobs that much easier.”
Through five games, Mathews had rushed for 234 yards, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. In the last two games, Mathews has rushed for 212 yards, averaging a robust 4.9 yards a carry.
“It feels great to block for a running back who wants to be great -- who wants to be in the Hall of Fame one day,” San Diego offensive lineman D.J. Fluker said. “We want to give Ryan as much room as possible to be the best running back he can.”
The next assignment for Mathews will be to do a better job closing out things at the end of games. The Chargers went three-and-out three straight times in the fourth quarter, failing to convert first downs in order to grind out clock and salt away the game.
“He’s got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing, and the way the offensive line is blocking up front,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. “There were a couple plays I said to Joe (offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris), one in particular toward the end with three or four drives left -- unfortunately we went three-and-out on it -- but I said to him, ‘That’s the way you run the football.’
“That’s the way you’ve got to be able to do it, pounding guys and double-team blocks, and the running back putting his foot in the ground and going north and south. And a lot of good finishes, and you saw a bunch of defenders on the ground. So we’ve just got to continue to be physical up front.”