Mathews impressive in debut, Chargers win 25-10Aug 15, 2010 - 5:17 AM By BERNIE WILSON AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO(AP) -- Ryan Mathews was so nervous before his debut that he had to duck into the bathroom to throw up.
He recovered quickly though. On his second NFL carry, Mathews was pushed back almost to the Chargers' goal line, then powered through linebacker Lance Briggs and ran for 18 yards.
Mathews had an impressive debut and the San Diego Chargers got along fine without holdouts Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill in a 25-10 exhibition victory over the Chicago Bears on Saturday night.
Mathews, the first-round draft pick who will replace the departed LaDainian Tomlinson, gained 50 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for 11 yards. Philip Rivers threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Legedu Naanee, one of the receivers the Bolts will depend on in Jackson's absence.
"You trust what you see and I've seen him now for three months," coach Norv Turner said. "He's got all the things you need to be an outstanding runner. It's exciting to have him."
The Chargers enjoyed watching Mathews drive through Briggs for the big gain.
"That was impressive," Rivers said. "He showed a little speed there in getting outside."
Said Mathews: "I kind of froze up on the corner or safety or whatever it was. I've got a lot of work to do still. The more I get more games in, the more practices in, the more fluent I'll be getting ready for that stuff."
Mathews said everything was going fast at first. He even beat guard Kris Dielman to the hole a few times.
"He told me to slow down a little bit. That was just the nerves," Mathews said. "I was just trying to get out there fast. That was me just overthinking it."
It was the Chargers' first game since they took a face-plant in a 17-14 playoff loss to the New York Jets, which was Tomlinson's last game with San Diego. He was released in February and signed with the Jets. The Chargers were 13-3 last year, winning their fourth straight AFC West title.
The Bears are coming off a 7-9 finish, their third straight season out of the playoffs.
"We have a lot of work to do, a long ways to go to be the type of football team we're going to be," coach Lovie Smith said. "But it is a start."
The Bears lost safeties Craig Steltz (ankle) and rookie Major Wright (finger).
"I've liked what Major has done through training camp and tonight also," Smith said. "We need to get him back on the field as soon as possible."
Restricted free agents McNeill, the left tackle, and Jackson, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, are holding out, upset that they haven't been given long-term contracts. The Chargers have threatened to put them on the roster exempt list if they haven't signed their tenders by Friday, meaning they'll be suspended for three games once they sign. They are believed to be willing to sit out the first 10 games, returning for the final six to gain an accrued season.
Rivers played two series and wasn't sacked. Backup Billy Volek was sacked once, midway through the second quarter. Brandyn Dombrowski, the first-string left tackle in McNeill's absence, played two series.
Dombrowski and Tyronne Green, who also played left tackle for the Chargers, squared off against Bears end Julius Peppers.
"I thought both our guys who we played at left tackle, against a real good football player earlier, played awfully well," Turner said.
The Chargers had six sacks.
Rivers' TD pass to Naanee was set up by a 51-yard kickoff return by Richard Goodman, an undrafted rookie, after Robbie Gould's 38-yard field goal.
Linebacker Brandon Lang, another undrafted rookie, had a big game. He blocked a punt late in the third quarter that rolled out of the end zone for a safety, and sandwiched Bears second-string quarterback Caleb Hanie along with Antwan Applewhite during a play that resulted in a sack and forced fumble for Applewhite, with Paul Oliver recovering. Hanie hurt his right shoulder on the play.
Bears starter Jay Cutler was in for only one series, going 2 of 2 for 47 yards. He was sacked once.
Hanie threw a 7-yard TD pass to Devin Aromashodu in the second quarter. It came seven plays after San Diego's Ryon Bingham was whistled for a neutral zone infraction as Gould kicked a 52-yard field goal, giving the Bears a first down on the Chargers' 30.
The Chargers committed nine penalties for 66 yards in the first half. Right tackle Jeromey Clary was whistled three times for false starts, including on consecutive plays on the Chargers' second drive.
NOTES: Chargers WR/PR Craig Davis sustained a hip pointer on a punt return in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Chicago LB Hunter Hillenmeyer sustained a foot injury.
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
CHICAGO 3 7 0 0 10
SAN DIEGO 7 7 8 3 25 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: CHI - FG, ROBBIE GOULD 38 YD, 5:58.
SDG - TD, LEGEDU NAANEE 28 YD PASS FROM
PHILIP RIVERS (NATE KAEDING
KICK), 9:57. SANDIEGO 7-3
2ND QUARTER: CHI - TD, DEVIN AROMA
Aug 15 12:05 AM
SAN DIEGO 25 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Aug 15 12:05 AM
NICK NOVAK 48 YD
SAN DIEGO 25 10:27 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Bears 10, Chargers 25 4th - 10:29Aug 14 11:35 PM
SAN DIEGO 22 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Aug 14 11:22 PM
SAN DIEGO 22 2:04 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Bears 10, Chargers 22 3rd - 2:10Aug 14 11:16 PM
NICK NOVAK 43 YD
SAN DIEGO 20 4:11 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Bears 10, Chargers 20 3rd - 4:11Aug 14 11:09 PM
NATE KAEDING 28 YD
SAN DIEGO 17 12:34 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Bears 10, Chargers 17 3rd - 12:38Aug 14 10:47 PM
SAN DIEGO 14 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Aug 14 10:27 PM
SAN DIEGO 14 0:17 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Bears 10, Chargers 14 2nd - 0:17Aug 14 10:23 PM
SAN DIEGO 7 7:25 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Bears 10, Chargers 7 2nd - 7:25Aug 14 10:01 PM
SAN DIEGO 7 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Aug 14 9:42 PM
SAN DIEGO 7 5:03 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Bears 3, Chargers 7 1st - 5:03Aug 14 9:27 PM
ROBBIE GOULD 38 YD
SAN DIEGO 0 9:06 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Bears 3, Chargers 0 1st - 9:06Aug 14 9:15 PM
SAN DIEGO 0 14:12 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Bears 0, Chargers 0 1st - 14:12Aug 14 9:09 PM
SAN DIEGO 0 15:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Bears 2, Chargers 0 1st - 15:00Aug 14 9:06 PM
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