He stampeded the Titans bewildered defense.
Everyone outside of the Chargers organization assumed that the run blocking was lacking. It was not. Norv Turner had previously indicated that the offensive line was opening holes and the running backs were missing the holes.
I didn't believe him, but it looks like the coach was right.
Thanks to Mr. Salomino Rosas, I was able to get a good view of several runs by Battle and one by Curtis Brinkley.
Two things stood out to me. The first was that had Ryan Mathews been in there to receive the type of blocking that Battle was getting, he would have gained more yards per carry by a mile.
The second is that Brinkley is continuously trying to bounce plays wide and is effectively letting the opposing defenses off the hook.
I took a look at all the runs by Battle and Brinkley on Mr. Rosas' video and made a commentary video, but skip it if you're not ready for an obscenity-laced tirade. I was very disappointed in Brinks after seeing him not trust his blockers. He took what could have been a great play and turned it into a win for the Titans.
I made a second video that is much more pleasing to the ears, without all the "excitement" which you'll find to the right.
I really think that Brinkley is a potentially great player and he's got the coach that can elevate him if he'll listen and trust his blockers.
However, he's still no Mathews.
The thing that makes Mathews great is the fact that he seems to understand the geometry and angles better at this point than Brinkley does, because he's had a lot more coaching and carries.
On a play where Battle made a cutback to his left, which you'll see in the video, Mathews would have definitely made the tackling defender miss. Had that happened, the only thing separating Mathews from the end zone would have been an out-of-position defender and green grass.
Defenses were not playing any special attention to the running backs in the first two weeks. That is going to change when Mathews enters the game for the first time all season.
The Chargers have scored 12 times in two games. Add Mathews and defenses have another dynamic playmaker they have to account for. That number could go up.
In the first two games, the Chargers had no perimeter threat to spread the defense out. Malcom Floyd and Robert Meachem will stretch the defense vertically, and now Mathews will stretch them horizontally. That is going to leave a very large hole in the middle of most defenses.
Hello Antonio Gates.
The Chargers are already one of the best teams in the league on third down, Mathews only makes them better. He can catch and run, so he is a threat that pulls attention away from less highly regarded guys (Eddie Royal, anyone?) who can also make big plays.
In the red zone, Mathews has been a killer, which is why Turner should never consider removing him from the game inside the 20-yard line.
Mathews' speed to the perimeter is reminiscent of LaDainian Tomlinson. If you take a look at some 2006 LT highlights, you'll see LT using his perimeter speed to score a curiously high amount of touchdowns.