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Mike McCoy hard on Ryan Mathews for late-game error

Ryan Mathews made a critical mistake Monday night, running out of bounds when the San Diego Chargers were attempting to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter.

Nick Novak bailed out the running back with a long field goal that iced a 19-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Chargers coach Mike McCoy was asked about his interaction with Mathews after the gaffe.

"I can't repeat what I said on the sideline yesterday," McCoy said Tuesday, via U-T San Diego. "It comes down to, that could have cost us the game."

The error almost overshadowed a nice night for Mathews, who finished with 102 yards on 22 carries in the win. Games like that have been few and far between in his uneven career.

"When you look at the big picture of things, of running out of bounds, and letting them not have to call a timeout or letting the clock run down, whatever their strategy was going to be there, well, that's a critical mistake," McCoy said. "And we can't have that because those are things that cost you in a close game like this. We were fortunate that it worked out all right. But you'd hate to look back on that situation.

"We won a game in Denver against Chicago when a guy ran out of bounds, and it gave us an opportunity to get the ball back and have more time to win a game. The player's got to learn from it. It's something you don't want to have happen, and they're going to make mistakes. But he's got to fall down in there and stay in bounds."

McCoy, of course, is referring to the 2011 season with the Broncos, a time better known as the height of Tebowmania. Bears running back Marion Barber opened the door for an unlikely Denver comeback by running out of bounds. Barber wore the goat horns that Mathews avoided.

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