Ryan Mathews did what he could Sunday. An ankle injury that's slowed him the past two weeks could be played on for so long. He was out most of the second half. Late, the Chargers had to turn to Ronnie Brown. His long run sealed the win. The 32-year-old followed excellent interior blocking for a 58-yard touchdown with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The big run iced a 27-10 win over the Bengals, but this team would miss the punch of its workhorse runner if unavailable on Sunday. San Diego advanced to the Divisional Round. It'll face the Broncos in Denver. “My mindset is I'm playing,” said Mathews, who praised the work of the team's running backs. “We keep fighting. Coach (Mike) McCoy says it all the time. It's the next man up. We're all ready.” The Chargers ran the ball 40 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage was the franchise's most since gaining 206 versus the Broncos in Oct. 2011. Brown (77 yards), Danny Woodhead (54) and Mathews (52) each rushed for more yards than Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, neither of whom had more than 45. San Diego missed Mathews when needing tough yards. It failed to convert consecutive third-and-1 runs in the fourth quarter. Brown was stopped on the first for a 4-yard loss. Le'Ron McClain had no gain on the second.
Ryan Mathews exits Chargers win early
San Diego Union-Tribune | Jan 6