Ryan Mathews May Return As Unbeaten Chargers, Falcons Collide
By Dave Thomas
With a pair of unbeaten teams colliding Sunday afternoon in San Diego, fans of both the Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers would like to see their respective teams go at it from a full strength standpoint.
For the Chargers, stopping Atlanta’s high-powered passing attack will be the top priority, especially with the Falcon ground game only churning out 75.5 yards per game the first two weeks of play.
The Chargers are expected to once again be without the services of cornerback Shareece Wright, who is nursing a foot problem. While San Diego leads the league after two weeks in stopping the run (41.5 ypg), can the Bolts stop Ryan and his weapons that include Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez among others?
Both White and Jones are expected to play despite battling knee and thigh injuries, respectively.
As for San Diego’s Ryan Mathews, he has yet to take a regular season snap, having broken his clavicle on his first run in the preseason opener versus Green Bay. Following surgery to repair the injury, Mathews recently began taking on contact again in practice, and could get some touches versus the Falcons.
If Mathews plays, it allows quarterback Philip Rivers to add one more weapon to his arsenal, as the Chargers’ running game has not exactly been lights out the first two weekends of play this season.
The Chargers will continue to be without offensive tackle Jared Gaither (back), out since July’s training camp.
While dinged up, tight ends Antonio Gates (rib injury) and Dante Rosario (calf injury), wide receiver/kick returner Eddie Royal (shoulder), and running back Curtis Brinkley (knee) are listed as probable for the Bolts on Sunday.
Rosario had a career-best three touchdown receiving day last Sunday in San Diego’s 38-10 rout of Tennessee.
After Sunday’s game with Atlanta, the Chargers will not have another home Sunday game until Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25) versus Baltimore. San Diego’s only home games during a nearly two-month period will be with Denver (Monday, Oct. 15) and Kansas City (Thursday, Nov. 1).
Can The Chargers Run The Table in September?
With a win this Sunday, the Chargers could set themselves up for a perfect September, playing the Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead next Sunday (Sept. 30).
After starting the season at 2-0, there are still many skeptics that think the Bolts are not for real, essentially not having played anyone so far. An argument can be made for that case, especially given the fact that Oakland and Tennessee are a combined 0-4 to date.
Still, last Sunday’s win over Tennessee was a rather convincing one for the Chargers, who led early and never were really threatened.
Should the Chargers take care of the unbeaten Falcons at home this Sunday, it could cause some heads to turn, taking note that the Bolts just may after all be for real this season.
Then again, a loss to Atlanta and Charger fans will need to avoid jumping off the bandwagon and ending up on the injured reserve list.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.