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Ryan Mathews: 'My mindset is I'm playing' Sunday

San Diego's 27-10 wild-card win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday featured another heavy dose of the Chargers' ground game.

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NFL Replay
will re-air the San Diego Chargers' 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals from Wild Card Weekend on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m. ET.

After averaging 39 carries over their final four regular-season outings, the Bolts dialed up 40 attempts for 196 yards and two scores against a Bengals defense that struggled to control the point of attack.

We argued on the latest "Around The League Podcast" that San Diego is bound to attempt the same on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, but it won't be easy if Ryan Mathews can't suit up. After averaging 26.7 carries per tilt since Week 14, the Chargers' workhorse was limited to 13 totes for 52 yards against Cincy, barely playing in the second half because of the nagging ankle injury that's bothered him for weeks.

Asked if he'll be ready for Denver, Mathews told reporters Sunday, per U-T San Diego: "My mindset is I'm playing."

San Diego has capable help in Danny Woodhead, while the 32-year-old Ronnie Brown filled in well Sunday (he broke off a 58-yard TD run), but the Chargers struggled in short-yardage situations with Mathews out of the mix.

FedEx Air & Ground Players of Year

Philip Rivers posted a passer rating of 105.5, ranked fourth in the NFL with 32 touchdown passes and had his fifth 4,000-yard season. Was it the best performance for a quarterback in 2013?

"We're doing what's best for the football team," coach Mike McCoy said. "We rested him a little bit during the week like we have the past couple of weeks. Like we said, we're still playing, so we have to do what's best for the team moving forward."

Converting third downs and chewing up the clock is the only way to keep Peyton Manning off the field in Denver. Look for Mathews to rest that ankle all week heading into the biggest game of his young career.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Wild Card Weekend action.

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