Ryan Mathews Comes Up Big when Eagles Needed Him the Most
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
All season long as Ryan Mathews continued to struggle, his coaches maintained that he was the Eagles lead back.
For one game, at least, he looked like the man.
In Sunday’s 24-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Mathews carried the ball 19 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns while adding 30 yards on two catches in the Eagles' Week 10 win over the Falcons, and in the process helped the Eagles improve to 5-4 on the season.
It was a performance that was, unexpected, after he entered the game with just 76 carries for 287 yards and five touchdowns on the season.
“You know what, I've always had confidence in Ryan Mathews," Doug Pederson said after the Eagles win over the Falcons. "I think what you saw today is the guy that I kept seeing, the guy we all wanted to see, and I fully had confidence in him, and put the ball in his hands. He did a nice job today.”
Mathews was one of three Eagles running backs, with rookie Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles being the others, to contribute, which happened in part because the Eagles focused on the ground game.
"Not only Ryan but Wendell stepped in, did a nice job today and also Darren and then again Kenjon," Pederson said. "Kenjon was more on the kickoff returns. But any time you run the ball as effectively as we did, yeah, it definitely opens up more of your system.
Still, Mathews played just 8-of-75 (11%) snaps Week 9 against the Giants, but said he was prepared whenever the team was ready to learn on him again.
“Like I said, throughout the week if any of us got to touch the ball, we’re giving 100% every time," Mathews said after his big day. "We’re trying to make it all count.
Mathews is arguably the Eagles best offensive player, when he is running hard he is a tough back to bring down and he showed that on Sunday. It set the table for what would be a dominating performance by the Eagles running game.
Fellow running back Wendell Smallwood said watching Mathews run the ball made the game fun.
“It’s just fun," Smallwood admitted. "All of us are happy we got runs in. I couldn’t stop smiling watching Ryan [Mathews] run so good and breaking the big ones.”
Mathews said it feels great to have a game where he played more like himself but made sure to credit his teammates for their belief in him.
“My line played great today," Mathews explained. "You have to give it to them. They really did all they could do to open up holes for us today."