Ryan Mathews made a surprisingly quick return from the broken collarbone he suffered in the preseason, rejoining the Chargers in Week 3. If the early action in Week 4 is any indication, though, Mathews may still be a ways from 100 percent.
Mathews had just four carries for 1 yard in the first half against the Chiefs, while backup Jackie Battle -- who scored twice in Mathews' absence in Week 2 -- saw the majority of the work. Through the first two quarters, Battle had nine carries for 23 yards and his third touchdown of the season, plus two catches for 32 yards.
The 25-year-old Mathews had 15 touches in his first game back from injury, San Diego's 27-3 loss to Atlanta last week. He mustered 44 yards rushing and 32 more on receptions and, for the most part, looked strong, even lowering his shoulder to take on tackles multiple times.
Mathews did, however, put the ball on the deck once, so it's possible that helped Battle gain more playing time.
And the Chargers came out Sunday with Battle as their No. 1 back. QB Philip Rivers hit him for a 14-yard pass completion on San Diego's first play, then Battle had four carries (to none for Mathews) on the remainder of that opening drive, which resulted in a touchdown.
Mathews took over on San Diego's second possession and made a 13-yard catch of his own. But his first carry went for negative-4 yards and he did not pick up positive yards on the ground until a 2-yard gain on 2nd-and-23 to open the third quarter. Will the Chargers come back with more Mathews in the second half?