Sep 9, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; General view of Qualcomm Stadium during the NFL football game between the Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Chargers gave running back Ronnie Brown more snaps than Ryan Mathews


During the past few seasons (namely under the ruling of now fired head coach Norv Turner), the San Diego Chargers created new, painful ways to lose.

Hopeful that would vanish with Turner no longer being in the picture, Charger fans were thrilled to see their Bolts jump out on the heavily favored Texans. And as if the news couldn’t get any better, the Chargers’ first play from scrimmage went for a touchdown to running back Ryan Mathews (although it was a pass), who Charger fans were excited to see in his new expanded role.

Except, it really wasn’t expanded at all.

Mathews, despite the Chargers’ large lead (that they eventually blew) only played twenty snaps during the loss, five less than fellow running back Ronnie Brown. Newly acquired Danny Woodhead rounded out the three man rotation with ten snaps himself.

Last night’s split in Chargers backfield: Ronnie Brown 25 offensive snaps, Ryan Mathews 20, Danny Woodhead 10, per @PFF.

The Chargers weren’t exactly shy about suggesting they could use a rotation this year, though, I can’t image San Diego fans are overly thrilled with the idea, nor are any fantasy players who thought they might get a steal with Ryan Mathews.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Danny Woodhead Ronnie Brown Ryan Mathews San Diego Chargers

  • Chris Osterhout

    ronnie had a better night with 5 carries for 27 yards, matthews had 13 carries for 33 yds. also ronnie is a better complete back who can catch, run, run hard and also BLOCK. they have in in there to block and for short slants. he should have actually had more carries than 5 bc they started to throw more towards the end and kept going 3 and out. with a big lead run the ball and control the clock.

    • Phillip

      You’re sick dude. Mathews only got carries when it was obvious he was gonna get the ball and he had to run against a 8 or 9 stacked up box and still ran hard and turned getting hit right at the line into a few yards. Everytime Brown got his carries were out the shotgun in 50/50 chance of running or passing keeping the box lighter. Brown blows, he’s washed up and don’t have half the talent that Mathews has if he can stay healthy. If Brown had more carries and actually took carries from Rivers under center he wouldn’t even of done as good as he did last year when he had all the opportunity’s in the world which was horrible. Mathews is a complete back, obviously he proved that in 2011 when he was the every down back and made the probowl and was 1 of the better pass catching RB’s out the backfield. You shouldn’t speak on shit you know little about dude.

      • Chris Osterhout

        first off he isnt washed up. its actually in great shape bc he hasnt gotten that many carries the past two seasons. so dont tell me idk what im talking about bc ovb u dont. mathews isnt a proven back he fumbles a lot and hasnt done anything thus far in his career. he isnt a great blocker why do u think he isnt in on 3rd downs. Also brown yards per carry were better last season than his and in game number 1 had a much better yards per carry. it shows that im right bc the coaches on the team must feel the same way bc they trust brown more than mathews. Also how can u say brown wouldnt have done good if he took carries from rivers under center? u dont know that shit. brown has had a great career which ppl dont understand bc he had injury issues while in mia. brown was on phase a couple seasons to rush for well over a 1000 yards but ijuries got in his way. I know football, i have too bc i write about it for my local news paper. So u dont have any facts to prove that mathews is better than brown bc the numbers dont show for it and when u said that mathews turned getting hit right at the line into a few yards u must have gotten his number mixed up with RonnieB23.

        • Chris Osterhout

          i also understand that mathews is the number one back but u cant argue that brown is washed up. The chargers lost bc they didnt control the clock at the end of the game.they should have ran more instead of throwing on first, second and third down and going three and out. brown and mathews should be getting a decent amount of handoffs. mathews prolly around 15-20 and brown getting 10-15. but if your number one back isnt having a good night than you have to give it to the guy who is. brown is going to get a lot of snaps bc he can block, he can run, he can catch out off the backfield as he did 49 times last season and he can also throw if they want to try a sneak play as he had a couple throwing td’s in mia.

          • shout it

            Are you seriously with this Ronnie Brown talk? Wow…on 2 of his carries the Chargers were in 3 and around 16 territory, do you really think the Texans were worried about 38 year old Ronnie burning them, nope so I guess a 9 yard run with no 1st down is good. Mathews was getting positive yards when they had 8 in the box.

          • ted

            “positive yards” is something to brag about for Mathews.
            Of course you could look at the work that Ronnie did last year If you need more proof that he is a quality running back. Also, I believe he is 31 just like: Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, Warrick Dunn, Ricky Waters, Fred Taylor, Curtis Martin, Tiki Barber, James Brooks, Tony Dorsette, Thomas Jones, Emmit Smith, Barry Sanders, etc… when they rushed for over 1,000 yds in a season. Don’t regurgitate every cliché that you hear on espn. Just like people all RBs are different.
            There’s a reason that the wildcat never caught on anywhere except for Miami. Miami had Ronnie Brown.

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    Problem with the way they use the guys is Most of the time RB is in it’s in the Shot gun and he’s used to block, then they go over center with RM in the backfield and it’s a obvious running play that will get sniffed out every time til they change their formations.

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    Problem with the way they use the guys is Most of the time RB is in it’s in the Shot gun and he’s used to block, then they go over center with RM in the backfield and it’s a obvious running play that will get sniffed out every time til they change their formations.

    • Phillip

      yeah, no doubt. i really noticed that last night also, hurt Mathews pretty bad, bet if he got a few of those hand offs that Brown got that he actually had decent runs on Mathews would of turned 1 or 2 of em into something that might have helped them salvage the win. It’s hard to do anything when you’re going against 1 of the best D’s in the NFL and the Chargers basically advertised when they were gonna run him and than Mathews gets the box stacked on him. No reason he shouldn’t of been giving the opportunity to prove something last night especially after that 1st play of the game, spectacular catch out the backfield. Hopefully the Chargers get some sense and realize what they have in Mathews right now.

  • tubbs45

    Why?????

  • Phillip

    No reason Brown should of had more snaps than Mathews. Mathews has proven he can handle being a 3 down back, his only issue is with health and that’s still freak kind of shit. It’s freak when ya break 2 colarbones in 1 year. For the Chargers to be successful this year they’re gonna need Mathews on the field with his dual threat ability, obviously Ronnie Brown didn’t have the Texans worried, they didn’t even stack the box with him in the game and we see what happened to the Chargers last night. Also when you’re gonna hand the ball to Mathews you can’t do it during the only times Rivers takes snap under center, they advertised Mathews running last night. 20 snaps, 13 carries and 2 receptions, 75% touch/snap ratio, you can’t get a dude going like that especially somebody as good as Mathews is cause D’s are gonna key on him a lot. Bet the Chargers would of won that game last night had Mathews taken 35-40 of the snaps and was on the field 75%-80% of the time. Hate to see this guy finally look in great shape and healthy quick and decisive and than not even get used like he should.

  • ted

    Reasons for this might be the fact that Ronnie is bigger, faster, stronger, more accomplished, and more talented than Matthews.

  • OP Bolt

    Like you I am somewhat confused about a couple of things:
    - tying specific players to specific schemes seems brain dead, especially when you are playing a better, stronger team where you need all the deception and misdirection you can generate
    - 2nd half play calling – complete abandonment of running attempts later in the game, even though they still had the lead. I mean when they are pinning their ears back on every play, I would think that believable play action and draw plays might work. Let’s face it we were doing consecutive 3 and outs anyway, so taking some time off the clock could not have hurt
    - I really expected far more creative use of Woodhead

    Anyway it does lead to some questions:
    - do the coaches really assess that RM is a real negative compared to RB on everything but a straight hand-off?
    - is Woodhead still only partially back from his mysterious injury?