- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Philip Rivers can’t do everything for the San Diego Chargers offense.

He can’t run the ball. Then again, neither can the Chargers’ running backs.

Although the Chargers pulled away to a 33-14 victory against winless Jacksonville on Sunday, they ran only 20 times for 42 yards, a paltry 2.1 yards per carry.

After four games, the Chargers are the NFL’s second-worst running team. On Sunday, the Chargers (3-1) host the New York Jets (1-3), who have the NFL’s stingiest run defense.

Rivers has carried the Chargers so far with his accurate passing. But coach Mike McCoy says the Chargers still have to be able to run the ball in certain situations.

“The big thing is the running game. It’s nowhere where it needs to be,” McCoy said Monday. “There’s no excuses about it. We’re not running it well enough. We’re not blocking well enough. Whatever we’re running isn’t working. We’ve got to figure out as coaches and players how to get it done.

“You want to have balance in any game,” McCoy added. “You want to win time of possession. And that helps with a running game. You want to gain 4 yards a carry, grind it out, and when you throw it the way we’re throwing the football right now, we’re going to minimize the number of possessions a team gets. We’re moving the ball. We just need to do it more efficiently.”

McCoy said the Chargers have the talent to run the ball, even with Danny Woodhead out for the season with a broken lower right leg and Ryan Mathews out indefinitely with a right knee injury.

“We have plenty of talent to run the football. It’s the execution,” McCoy said.

Donald Brown carried 10 times for 19 yards Sunday. Rookie Branden Oliver carried nine times for 23 yards.

A week earlier, the Chargers gained 85 yards on 37 carries, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. Brown carried 31 times for 62 yards in that game.

“It’s a collective effort. It starts with me,” Brown said. “I need to make more guys miss. It doesn’t matter who’s blocked or unblocked, and just make more plays. It’s going to come. We just have to be patient. You can’t do anything out of the ordinary. We’re not going to re-invent the wheel. We’re just going to keep continuing with what we do, work on our craft and it’s going to come.”

Mathews could be out for several weeks more with a sprained right knee.

“I’m not going to speculate on when people are coming back,” McCoy said. “They’re all working hard. The sooner the better for all those guys. As soon as they’re ready I’d love to have them back.”


Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/berniewilson


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