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Week 1 vs. OAK
Passing: 24 - 36, 252 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 1 / -1 / 0
Rivers had a rough night because Oakland's pass rush was relentless, and his offensive line, which didn't seem up to the task, suffered two injuries to two starters. If they had suffered a third, the team would have had to go to an emergency offensive lineman. He did have some short fields in the first half, but Ladainian Tomlinson fumbled away one drive and finished the other with a TD. Rivers came alive in the second half after his interception ended a drive into Oakland territory. He leaned on favorite targets Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson, and emerging weapons Darren Sproles and Legedu Naanee as the Chargers and Raiders traded punches to the very end. The Chargers are turning into a pass first team because that is the strength of their offense, so Rivers is still a top fantasy option at QB despite his middling stat line.
Week 2 vs. BAL
Passing: 25 - 45, 436 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 4 / 10 / 0
Going into the game, Philip Rivers knew that 40% of his offensive line was making their first career NFL start. So he was probably as surprised as anyone when he finished the game with a career-high 436 yards passing. Rivers completed four passes of 35 yards or more, including an 81 yard touchdown to Darren Sproles on which the pass was thrown about 20 yards and Sproles did the rest. San Diego receivers are so big that Rivers knows he mostly needs to just get the ball down the field and more often than not it'll be caught. Still, Rivers did the bulk of the work on most of the big plays. He was under intense pressure all day long from the Baltimore defensive front, but never backed down. Amazingly, his stats could have been even better had it not been for Vincent Jackson being tackled at the one yard line after a long catch. Jackson more than made up for that later with a long touchdown grab, which was one of the best passes of Rivers career. He perfectly placed the ball deep downfield between three defenders to really the only spot Jackson could've made the play, and he did. There were two turnovers on Rivers' ledger --- one was a play on which he was just trying to throw the ball away, but didn't see a defender lurking in the area. On the other, Chris Chambers appeared to have been interfered with before the ball popped off his arms, but no flag was thrown and the deflection was snagged by Baltimore for the INT. One other note on Rivers is that he appeared to be getting checked out on the sideline for a possible lower body injury, and then later was seen flexing his hand repeatedly on the field. He never came out of the game.
Week 3 vs. MIA
Passing: 18 - 33, 303 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 5 / 1
Rivers was up and down in the game, probably mostly due to the fact that they had zero success running the ball. Since Miami knew the Chargers couldn't run, they applied a ton of pressure on Rivers and beat him up repeatedly. That especially hurt San Diego in the red zone, as they had to settle for three short field goals (after four short ones a week ago). They'll need to do a better job of getting into the end zone in future weeks if they hope to establish any kind of offensive rhythm. Rivers appeared to be shaken up as he was hit on a deep ball incompletion to Chris Chambers, and late coming out of the locker room for the second half. Billy Volek warmed up, but Rivers was able to make it back out. Not only did he make it back out, but he made two perfect passes on deep balls, one to Malcom Floyd down the seam and one to Vincent Jackson to beat two defenders to a similar spot. About the only blemishes on his game were an early fumble inside his own 20 yard line, something he couldn't do much about because of how quick the pressure got there, and another late pass that was nearly intercepted by DE Jason Taylor for what would've been an easy pick-6 if he could have gotten his hands up sooner. But Rivers made up for those mistakes with some very quick recognition during a keeper run he took up the middle completely untouched for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Week 4 vs. PIT
Passing: 21 - 36, 254 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 1 / 0
It was a tale of two-half's for Rivers on Sunday night. The first half was marred by inaccurate throws made under duress and a lack of offensive flow, Rivers was simply not able to keep the SD offense on the field much in the 1st half due to the Steelers solid coverage (of Antonio Gates in particular) and Pitt's dominance of the clock. This largely continued into the 2nd half, however due to the Steelers huge lead the opportunities for intermediate underneath routes were increased mid-way through the 3rd quarter. Rivers took full advantage of this hitting Antonio Gates with a short TD throw over the middle late in the 3rd. Rivers attempted to lead the Chargers to a late comeback victory by throwing two more TD's in the 4th, another to Gates and one to Chris Chambers. The comeback effort was brought to a halt when he fumbled on San Diego's final drive. Overall it was a mixed bag for Rivers on the night, however he was able to rack up some nice numbers when the team went into all-out passing mode in the 2nd half. As we know playing from way behind sometimes has it's value in the world of fantasy football.
Week 6 vs. DEN
Passing: 20 - 33, 274 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 1 / 0
Rivers is always fired up to play the Broncos, and even got into a shouting match with the opposition before the game started. Denver sent many blitzes after Rivers throughout the game. At one point in the first quarter the Broncos had blitzed on 7 of 8 plays. Rivers did a good job of locating safety Brian Dawkins on the field and would regulary audible away from the blitz. He also did a good job of finding his hot read while the pressure was on. Rivers stood strong in the pocket early, and was even jumping slightly as he threw to get the ball over the oncoming rush. When the Broncos were in a base defense Rivers usually made them pay. The Chargers used screen passes, draw plays, traps, and shovel passes to try and keep the Broncos pass rush in check but by the end of the game the blitz finally got to Rivers. With pressure right in his face Rivers tried to find his receivers, but the Broncos were on him too quickly. The ultimate competitor, Rivers went down swinging but it wasn't enough for the Chargers to win the game.
Week 7 vs. KC
Passing: 18 - 30, 268 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 18 / 0
Rivers was pretty much on-point for the entire game. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he was given loads of time to work with. Unlike last week, when he was sacked five times in a loss to Denver, this week he wasn't sacked once. It showed in his aggressiveness and the confidence he showed on each throw, directing his receivers around the field and stepping into each throw without fear of being hit. He even managed to scramble for an 11-yard first down run! His first touchdown pass to Malcom Floyd was a simple matter of Floyd selling the corner fade fake and coming back on the slant for the easy score. Rivers' second score wasn't so easy, as he had to wait for Vincent Jackson to come back towards him off his route and fire a strike in front of the defender (which he did). The third score was a simple swing pass in the flat to Darren Sproles, who did the rest of the work himself by racing around and through a handful of Chiefs defenders to all but end the game. In addition to those, Rivers had a couple other near-misses, one of which was a dropped score by WR Chris Chambers and another to TE Antonio Gates that he was unable to hold onto while maintaining his footing inbounds. Gates had another reception that he took down to the two yard line, and Jackson had another that he nearly hauled in but came down about a foot out of bounds. So Rivers' day could have been even bigger than it already was. In fact, Jackson's second of two long receptions could've also gone for a longer pass and a score, but the pass was slightly underthrown and "only" went for a 51-yard pass.
Week 8 vs. OAK
Passing: 16 - 25, 249 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 4 / -2 / 0
Rivers has a built-in advantage of knowing that if he throws up a jump ball to his receivers, more often than not they're going to come down with the football. His first pass of the game was one such play, a 53 yard bomb to Malcom Floyd that he went up and snagged out of the air over Michael Huff. Rivers from that point forward stepped into each throw with confidence, was given plenty of time by his line, and was pretty much on-point en route to a 9-9 start. He did throw an interception that wasn't really his fault (it bounced off the hands of Vincent Jackson), but he did later find Jackson wide open in the end zone for a score as Rivers continually threw it to him. Rivers also had a stretch that saw him go just 1-6, as his timing was off and his passes were sailing. The Chargers were about to punt once more when Chris Chambers came up with a huge reception on third and ten to pick up 20 yards and pretty much seal the win away.
Week 9 vs. NYG
Passing: 24 - 36, 209 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 1 / 15 / 0
Rivers was largely ineffective in this game, except when he absolutely needed to make plays. He was responsible for all three Chargers TDs - a short post to Vincent Jackson where he threw the ball so that VJax was in between Corey Webster and the ball in flight, a play action fake short TD to Kris Wilson, and a beautiful floater to Jackson in the corner of the end zone to win the game in the final minute. The Giants got good pressure on Rivers, and Terrell Thomas even picked off Rivers in Chargers territory on a play that looked like it might ice the game for the Giants. Rivers other INT game on a jumpball to Vincent Jackson deep downfield that safety Michael Johnson had a bead on the whole way. Antonio Gates did let Rivers down with a few drops, and Darren Sproles did little after the catch on most of his receptions. Rivers also failed to hook up with Malcom Floyd on the handful of 50/50 balls he threw to him, and Floyd dropped an easy catch over the middle because he heard footsteps. Rivers fantasy owners have to be pleased that he had a fine stat line despite no presence of a running game and lots of good play up front by the Giants defense.
Week 10 vs. PHI
Passing: 20 - 25, 231 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / -1 / 0
Rivers didn't put up the huge numbers, and in fact both of his touchdown passes were the result of players doing a lot after the catch to find the end zone. But despite some heavy pressure at times, he never caved to it. Several of his passes were made off of his back foot or short-armed, but they got the job done in the end. He was unable to establish much of a rapport with his wide receivers, instead spreading the ball around to whoever happened to be open at the time. It seemed as if the Eagles defensive strategy was very boom or bust. When they blitzed Rivers, they sacked him at times. But for the most part, the Chargers were able to pick up the blitzes and Rivers did a fantastic job of finding guys on the shorter routes to pick up chunks of yardage. He didn't "lock in" on TE Antonio Gates necessarily, but Gates was the big beneficiary of the constant Philadelphia blitzing.
Week 11 vs. DEN
Passing: 17 - 22, 145 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rivers wasn't asked to do much in this one, as the Chargers instead opted for a run-heavy approach for one of the only times so far this season (they ran the ball 43 times as opposed to just 22 passes for Rivers). There was almost no pressure on him whatsoever when he did drop back to pass, and he generally had an easy afternoon. He did make a fantastic pass on his only touchdown toss of the day, a pass on which he absolutely threaded the needle between several defenders in the end zone to get the ball to WR Legedu Naanee. He nearly had a second score on a flea-flicker to TE Antonio Gates, but Gates stepped out of bounds just before reaching the goal line. Rivers also came close to a long touchdown pass to an open WR Vincent Jackson, but overthrew him by a good amount as it fell for an incompletion.
Week 12 vs. KC
Passing: 21 - 28, 317 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 4 / 0
Rivers nearly had a career-long play on the first possession of the game, but he underthrew WR Vincent Jackson on a deep bomb that could have gone for a 91-yard score. A few plays later, he was nearly intercepted but Jackson managed to knock it away from the defender to save the turnover. Rivers, however, soon settled down and at one point had completed eight passes in a row. He was being given a lot of time to throw, and took full advantage by looking downfield most of the afternoon. Very few of his passes were of the 'dink and dunk' variety, with the vast majority of them attacking the middle of the field. He took another deep shot down the middle of the field to Malcom Floyd that resulted in a remarkable leaping grab. It appeared at first glance to be a touchdown, but in fact Floyd was (correctly) ruled down just shy of the goal line. But despite the deep shots to Jackson and Floyd, his favorite target by far was TE Antonio Gates. He found him over the middle almost at will, including both of his touchdown passes. Rivers was quick and efficient with his decisions, made far easier by the fact that there was someone open on just about every single pass play.
Week 13 vs. CLE
Passing: 18 - 25, 373 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 0 / 0
Rivers played about as efficiently and as flawlessly as a quarterback can hope to play. He completed over 70% of his passes --- again --- approached 400 yards passing (again), and tossed two more touchdowns without throwing an interception (again). Of course, on each of those touchdowns most of the work was done by the running backs who caught the passes. On the first, he tossed a swing pass in the flat to Mike Tolbert, who took off on a dead sprint down the sideline for a 66 yard score. On the second, Darren Sproles took a screen and made a beeline for the end zone. Rivers' two scores gave him 97 yards passing even though he only threw the ball about twenty total yards in the air. That's not to say he was merely the benefit of good luck. He made several passes in traffic, particularly downfield to TE Antonio Gates, that very few passers can make. About his only significant error was on a misfire to RB Darren Sproles near the end zone. It should've gone for a score, but it was thrown to the wrong shoulder and fell incomplete. Aside from that, he was outstanding. While he has gotten away from the wide receivers a bit lately, that's likely only because they've received more defensive attention lately. All he's done is move his attention over to the tight end spot, where Antonio Gates has been outstanding the past two weeks. Rivers is very clearly amongst the elite passers in the league, and it has been that way for some time.
Week 14 vs. DAL
Passing: 21 - 32, 272 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 1 / 0
Rivers once again proved that the Chargers don't really need to muster much of a running game in order to beat good teams. He threw just one touchdown pass, but it was the passes he completed that helped set up scores that were so outstanding. He showed perfect touch on a long sideline pass to WR Vincent Jackson early in the first quarter, his third pass of the quarter of at least twenty yards. He looked to Jackson a lot more than in recent weeks due to the good job Dallas did covering TE Antonio Gates. That seems to be the recent pattern with San Diego, that defenses can take away either Jackson or Gates --- but not both. In this game, Jackson was the one who saw most of the action while Gates was the one who got into the end zone (the 100th touchdown pass of Rivers' career). On that scoring drive, Rivers did a great job of marching the Chargers downfield immediately after the neck injury to DeMarcus Ware. San Diego faced a third and 12, but quickly got them into scoring range and led Gates in the flat for the score. Rivers also was very animated at several times, firing up his team during the game as he extended the Chargers' NFL record to sixteen consecutive December victories. His only mistakes were an early interception thrown off his back foot from his own end zone that was easily picked. It was his first pick in 119 attempts, and he was nearly picked again on a deflection soon after but the defenders ran into one another.
Week 15 vs. CIN
Passing: 24 - 38, 308 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 1 / 0 / 0
Early on, Rivers did a nice job of taking what the defense was giving him, although the Bengals were preventing the Chargers from doing what they do best --- connecting on the deep passes. As a credit to Rivers, however, he never got greedy looking for that one big hit; instead, he just took what the defense gave to him. It worked out well as he found TE Antonio Gates over the middle of the end zone for his first touchdown of the game. His second came on a comeback route by WR Vincent Jackson, who made a terrific individual effort in diving for the score and somehow staying inbounds. Rivers kept plugging away with the underneath stuff for the rest of the first half until the timing was right for a deep shot. As it turned out, that timing was right early in the second half. He tossed a pass up the left sideline to a WIDE open Jackson for a 34 yard score, and the ball was actually underthrown a bit. Jackson did a nice job of fighting off the tackler to get into the end zone. Rivers did throw two interceptions in the game, although one of them was not entirely his fault. On the first one, he was hit as he threw and the ball just sort of floated out towards the sideline. He was under a decent amount of pressure early on, and that one was on Rivers. The second interception was thrown a bit behind Gates, but it is a play that he normally makes. The ball bounced off his hands and into the waiting arms of a defender for another turnover, a rarity for Rivers to have two in one game. And then, on the eventual game-winning drive, Rivers was 3-5 for 46 yards, including a 15 yard sideline pass to WR Malcom Floyd with just twelve seconds left that helped set up the eventual game-winning 52 yard field goal by PK Nate Kaeding.
Week 16 vs. TEN
Passing: 21 - 27, 264 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / -1 / 0
Philip Rivers' only struggle in Week 16 seemed to be finding someone that wasn't open against the Titans on Christmas night as the Chargers blew out the Titans, 42-17. Rivers went 21-of-27 as he found nine different receivers and completed seven passes of 20 or more yards to help keep San Diego moving down the field and putting up points on Tennessee all night. Had it not been for the one-sided affair, Rivers likely would have crossed the 300-yard line but like most San Diego starters Rivers was given nearly the entire fourth quarter off. Now that the Chargers have locked up the second seed for the postseason, however, Rivers may not see any significant playing time against the Redskins next week so fantasy owners may need to find another quarterback option if they have a meaningful Week 17 contest.
Week 17 vs. WAS
Passing: 9 - 15, 99 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rivers didn't look like a QB going through the motions leading the Chargers down the field. He moved around in the pocket very well and put nice touch on his TD throw to Antonio Gates in the corner of the end zone. Rivers did miss Gates twice earlier on long throws, and he should have been picked earlier in the game, but he still looked sharp overall in his last action until the second round of playoffs.
Week 19 vs. NYJ
Passing: 27 - 40, 298 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 3 / 4 / 1
Rivers actually had a lot of statistical success in this game, but overall his game left a lot to be desired. Against the league's top-rated pass defense, Rivers completed nearly 70% of his passes, averaged over seven yards per pass, and totaled nearly 300 yards. However, he wasn't able to get his team into the end zone. He was piling up the yardage, but had just one score (a pass to little-used TE Kris Wilson). A large part of the lack of scoring had to do with the fact that he was constantly in third and long situations due to the poor job done by the running game. But he did turn the ball over twice, once on a jump ball that Darrelle Revis made a miraculous play on and one on a very poor decision to launch it downfield to TE Antonio Gates from the shadow of his own end zone. He didn't make very many plays, and tossing it up to the tall receivers didn't work as well as it usually does. Rivers was under more pressure than he's probably used to, and looked affected --- specifically in the second half. In the first half, he seemed to do no wrong, but after halftime the Chargers simply couldn't move the ball. Rivers added a late touchdown run on a sneak, one play after tossing a pass to Vincent Jackson down to the one yard line.