San Diego Chargers-Atlanta Falcons: Mathews & Co. Sizing Up Falcons Defense

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIISeptember 18, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The words 'small' and 'quick' came to mind as I watched the Atlanta Falcons defense walk around and confuse the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning as if Eric Weddle was on the field.

The next thing that came to mind was a vision of Ryan Mathews teaming with Jackie Battle run over the Falcons' undersized defense. The San Diego Chargers usually don't have a problem with speedy defenses unless they turn the ball over.

The Chargers' biggest concern when it comes to an opposing defensive force is a big nasty defensive tackle who can ignore Norv Turner's tricks and wreak havoc.

Thank goodness for the Chargers, there is no Ndamukong Suh on the Falcon's roster.

It's the same story from me. The Chargers have to run the ball and not turn it over to beat the Falcons. Here's a team that was in a battle with the Kansas City Chiefs until the "Chefs" served up some home cooking with two key second half turnovers.

Then they nearly blew a huge lead to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos after receiving four first-quarter turnovers. A dropped fourth-quarter pass may have been the only thing that saved the Falcons from falling victim to a classic Manning comeback.

The Falcons have lived on gifts during the first two games, and the Chargers can not play their usual Santa Claus role. As good as the Falcons have looked, they've pulled away from their first two opponents because of turnovers. They didn't physically dominate or overwhelm anybody.

I'll parrot myself every week. Even at the expense of big plays, the Chargers can not turn the ball over. If the running game is working and the back's fingers aren't buttered up, the risk of turnovers goes way down.

The Chargers will run the ball whether they are successful, but I'm interested to see if they actually make some positive gains early on. It seems feasible.

Even with the big leads they built on turnovers, the Falcons have given up 270 yards rushing in only two games. At that rate they'll give up 2,160 yards rushing.

Winning teams usually don't give up 2,000 yards rushing in a season. Last year, the only team to give up that many yards and have a winning record was the Detroit Lions, who made a quick playoff exit after giving up 167 yards on the ground to the New Orleans Saints.

If that hole in the the Falcons' defense is legit, the Bolts need to ignore their tricks and punch the Falcons in the face...

...assuming Mathews is 100 percent of course.