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Friday, September 2, 2011
Breaking down Chargers-49ers

By Bill Williamson

On a night many backups played extensively, second-year running back Ryan Mathews showed his team some flashes of why the Chargers gave up a truckload to trade up for him in the 2010 draft.

Mathews had a beautiful 56-yard touchdown run and he finished with 78 yards on five carries in a 20-17 loss to San Francisco. He showed he is perhaps ready to take on a bigger role once the regular season starts next week against Minnesota.

Rookie running back Jordan Todman also was active as he had 46 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien showed his potential as he completed 16 of 23 passes for 226 yards. The Chargers like him as a developmental player.

Receiver Laurent Robinson, who faces big odds of making the team, had six catches for 120 yards. Receiver Seyi Ajirotutu helped his cause with five catches for 41 yards.

The Chargers are worried about injuries to rookie linebacker Jonas Mouton and Andrew Gachkar. It could affect who the team keeps at linebacker. Veteran Stephen Cooper -- who is playing with a torn biceps -- made his case to make the roster with seven tackles.