QB Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers
|6-5, 228||Born: 12-8-1981||College: North Carolina State||Drafted: Round 1, pick 4|
Week 21: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 17 vs KC (22 / 38 / 269 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
While he added to his NFL-leading interception total with two more in this game, Rivers at least put up solid enough fantasy stats to cap a solid statistical afternoon. He tended to force-feed the ball to Antonio Gates near the end zone, as the Chargers tried giving Gates the two touchdowns he needed to pass Tony Gonzalez on the NFL's all-time tight end scoring list. Gates managed one of the scores, but the second proved elusive. Rivers found Gates on a check-down early on, passing up what appeared to be an easier scoring pass to Hunter Henry in the back of the end zone. Gates took the catch in the flat and leapt over (and through) the defender on his way into the end zone. Later in the game, Rivers hit Gates in the end zone but the ball seemed to get on him a bit earlier than Gates expected it, so he was unable to hang on. Late in the game, with the fans clamoring for Gates to break the record, Rivers instead connected with a wide open Henry with a bullet pass in the end zone. The ball was actually thrown a bit behind him, and the young tight end made a nice adjustment on the play. Later, Rivers appeared annoyed that he wasn't able to get the ball to Gates there. If that record was the priority in the game, it showed by the lack of efficiency. It took Rivers nearly 40 pass attempts to compile his yardage total, and his two interceptions were both very much his fault. Many of Rivers' turnovers this year have been caused by deflections or miscommunication, but these were simply bad passes. The first was widely telegraphed, and the defender easily jumped the route. He then floated one up in the end zone to a previously-open Isaiah Burse. But despite Burse being momentarily open, the Rivers pass had way too much air under it, giving the defender ample time to close on the route. The safety who picked it off actually appeared to be out of bounds before his knee touched down, but the officials concluded there was no clear evidence of it, and the call stood. Later in the second half, Rivers was nearly picked a third time when he floated one to Gates on the sideline. It was yet another scenario where he just put too much air under the ball and it was nearly intercepted. Unlike in recent weeks, his poor performance here cannot be blamed on the lack of a running game, as San Diego backs were very effective in picking up 125 yards on 25 carries (5.0 YPC).
2016 Week 16 vs CLE (23 / 46 / 322 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers had a highly inefficient 300-yard, 2-touchdown afternoon. He completed just half of his pass attempts, and averaged just seven yards per attempt. This, despite completing a 50-yard bomb on his first attempt of the game. That pass, in fact, should have gone for a lot more than fifty yards but Rivers hung it up in the air quite a bit and Travis Benjamin had to wait for it to come down. Rivers did eventually cap that drive with a wide open touchdown pass to Antonio Gates off a play action fake. But after the early success, it was very difficult for San Diego to move the ball. Despite Cleveland's woeful defense, Rivers was under duress most of the game. It didn't help that three more previously healthy lineman were injured during this game, and starter Kenneth Farrow was also briefly lost for some time with a shoulder injury. So with a lot of the defensive attention focused on Rivers and the passing game, it was tough for him to step into his throws. He floated one to Tyrell Williams on a crossing route that went too high and was nearly picked off, and then later in the first half he horribly underthrew Gates for his league-leading 18th interception of the season. To make matters worse, Gates had beaten his man by several yards and was streaking down the left sideline wide open on the play. Rivers settled down a bit to open the second half, dropping a perfect pass to Williams to convert a third down right out of halftime. And he later floated one in the end zone from a yard out to Williams, who made a terrific individual effort in snagging the pass with one hand and cradling it in for the score. But that was pretty much the end of his efficiency for the game. On the rare occasions he had time to throw, his passes just lacked crispness. He was off-target on consecutive passes to Dontrelle Inman early in the fourth quarter, and then was late on an end zone attempt to Tyrell Williams late in the fourth quarter that would have given San Diego the lead. With the game on the line, he just repeatedly peppered Gates with targets in an attempt to get San Diego into field goal range. They did get into range - twice, in fact - but the first kick was blocked, and the second was missed as time expired.
2016 Week 15 vs OAK (17 / 30 / 206 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Coming off arguably the worst statistical performance of his career, Rivers started this game like a man possessed. He opened up by completing four of his first five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown on the team's opening drive. The touchdown was a 47-yard bomb to Travis Benjamin, who streaked past every defender and was wide open by a good five yards. He was so open, in fact, that he had time to wait a bit for the pass to come down and still had enough time to get to the end zone. But as has been the case lately, the momentum was not sustainable. He completed just one of his next five passes for a total of six yards, as the offense couldn't get out of its own way. Rivers wasn't getting any passing lanes to find his receivers, nor were very many players getting open. Tyrell Williams dropped what would have been a nice gain in the first half, but other than that there weren't a whole lot of yards left on the field - there just wasn't much of anything to be had. It was more of the same in the second half. He connected with Dontrelle Inman a couple of times for decent yardage, then found Hunter Henry with a bullet pass from close range for the score. Rivers put the ball exactly where he needed it to be, just in front of the Oakland defender, and the Chargers took yet another lead into the fourth quarter. But once again, they largely did nothing once they had that lead. Given the ball back with a chance to drive downfield and tie it up, they instead went backwards. And facing a desperation 4th and 15 with the game on the line, Rivers forced a pass (he was also hit as he threw) that was picked off the the Oakland defender to end the game. San Diego couldn't even come up with a single positive yard on their last-gasp drive.
2016 Week 14 vs CAR (21 / 39 / 236 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
There's no way to really sugarcoat this performance. Rivers had one of the worst games of his entire career. He was under constant pressure right from the opening drop back, and was fortunate he wasn't sacked even more (he has now been sacked at least once in 31 consecutive games). He turned the ball over a whopping five times, and none of them were fluke plays or bad luck. They were just horrid decisions and/or poor awareness by Rivers. His first interception was a horribly underthrown deep ball to Tyrell Williams. It was a one on one pass, but Williams didn't really fight very hard with the defender for the 50-50 ball. At times, Rivers seems like he's still throwing deep routes to the tall receivers of yesteryear like Vincent Jackson or Malcom Floyd. Williams has been very effective this season, but he hasn't shown that propensity to come down with those types of passes. The next turnover was supposed to be a pass attempt, but he was hit as he threw and the ball popped up in the air. It was nearly caught by the defender, but it didn't matter whether it was caught or not since it was ruled a fumble anyway. It was then recovered by Carolina after hitting the ground. He did close out the half on a high note by heaving one deep downfield to Tyrell Williams on a free play. This time, Williams did go up and get the pass despite two defenders being on him. That 46-yard bomb helped set up a touchdown pass to Hunter Henry. It was kind of an awkward play, with both Henry and Williams about a yard apart in the end zone when the ball got there, but it worked out. Rivers started the second half just like he ended the first, on a high note. Despite this being one of the worst games of his career, he somehow completed one of the more impressive passes of his career on a touchdown toss to Donrelle Inman. With a pass rusher bearing down on him, Rivers never flinched while flipping a floater to the corner to Inman. Inman did a tremendous job of keeping both feet inbounds, but more importantly the pass was thrown exactly where it needed to be despite Rivers taking a huge hit just as he released it. Replays showed that Inman may not have crossed the pylon with the ball, but it was inconclusive as to whether he had or not so the score stood. On the ensuing two point conversion attempt, Rivers underthrew Antonio Gates a bit. Most of Rivers' passes in the game (even the completed ones) just looked to be a bit off. Even on a rare occasion when he had an open man, such as when Travis Benjamin streaked across the field wide open on a second quarter crossing route, Rivers threw it well behind him. Later in the quarter, Rivers again looked for Gates but instead found a defender who jumped the route for the interception. On an ensuing possession following a San Diego interception, Rivers was being chased around in the end zone. Rather than throw the ball away, Rivers simply tucked it and took the safety. With San Diego in desperation mode late in the game, Rivers looked like he was just playing home run derby. He kept chucking deep balls that had almost no chance of being completed, so it wasn't a shock when one of them ended up getting picked. It was actually a poor decision by the defender, because he cost his team yardage by picking it off rather than knocking down the fourth down pass.
2016 Week 13 vs TB (15 / 26 / 225 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 18 / 0 rush)
For most of the game, Rivers was very efficient and extremely effective. He threw two perfect touchdown passes, one each to his starting wideouts, and consistently made the right read to the most open fan on the field. He never tried forcing anything, and actually could have had a third touchdown pass but Travis Benjamin dropped a potential 79-yard bomb. Even the one interception he threw wasn't his fault, as it bounced off his hands and into the waiting arms of a Tampa defender - not really Rivers' fault. But with the Chargers trailing by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Rivers picked a most inopportune time to make his first really costly mistake. He had Antonio Gates wide open for a first down, but instead tried forcing a deep ball to the end zone for Dontrelle Inman. The ball was woefully underthrown and intercepted near the goal line, sealing the loss. It gave him seven interceptions over his last three games, and it was the sixth interception he has thrown in the fourth quarter this season. It was a shame that his day ended that way, because as mentioned the touchdowns were things of beauty. The first one was a terrific move by the aforementioned Inman, who put a terrific move on his defender to shake free down the sideline. Later in the first quarter, he passed Drew Bledsoe on the all-time passing yardage list. And his second touchdown, a perfectly placed deep ball to Tyrell Williams, put him into third place on the all-time list for most consecutive seasons with at least 25 or more passing touchdowns (trailing only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees).
2016 Week 12 vs HOU (22 / 30 / 242 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers picked apart the Texans all game long. He completed ten of his first eleven pass attempts, with the one incompletion a drop by Hunter Henry on a pass thrown right to his hands (that could have gone for 40 yards if it hadn't been dropped). Put simply, Rivers couldn't have played better. They opened with a lot of short pass attempts, picking apart the Houston defense with slants and crossing routes. And just when Houston started to cheat up, Rivers went over the top with a perfect bomb to Dontrelle Inman for a 52-yard touchdown. He was getting time to throw, his receivers were getting open, and he was putting it where it needed to be. Nothing flashy, just perfect execution all the way around. His second touchdown was a perfect strike in traffic to Tyrell Williams down the seam from 21 yards out. It was a tough catch with the defender right in his face, but it was also put in a perfect spot by Rivers. Despite leading almost the entire game, the Chargers actually threw it more in the second half than they did in the first. Rivers kept peppering Tyrell Williams with passes, but they finally lost their connection. Rivers put one a bit high and behind the wideout, who did all he could to get a hand up and deflect the ball. Unfortunately, it was deflected right into the waiting arms of a defender for the interception. But the constant aerial attack reared its head again later on. Rivers turned in one of his more remarkable individual efforts to avoid a sack by spinning away from two would-be tacklers and rolling out to his right. On the run, he fired a dart to Inman to keep the play (and drive) alive. It was really impressive on both sides, as Rivers kept his eyes downfield the entire time and Inman never gave up on the route. It was that kind of day for the San Diego offense. Rivers capped the scoring with a floater to the end zone to tight end Hunter Henry. He put nice touch on the pass, almost too much since it went very low to the ground, and required a tough effort by Henry to get low and bring it in for Rivers' third score of the afternoon.
2016 Week 10 vs MIA (23 / 44 / 326 / 3 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers wasn't as at ease during this game as his touchdowns and yards might indicate. He wasn't getting good protection early and appeared to be off, so more quick passing plays were called and Rivers moved well and stay composed when longer developing plays were called. His first score was an ideal ball to Antonio Gates and he was really finding his groove at the end of the first half. His second half did not live up to the momentum at the end of the first. He tied John Elway at 300 touchdown passes on a softball to Hunter Henry, but then threw too high for Tyrell Williams on a chance to pass Elway. Later, he did pass Elway with a perfectly thrown ball to Williams in stride for a 51-yard score. The team had a short-lived lead before Miami tied the game with a field goal. Rivers drove the team close to scoring position, but then missed a defender dropping into coverage and threw a decisive pick six. With a chance to tie the game, he had a miscommunication with Williams where he was expecting a back shoulder throw and Williams kept running. Rivers appeared to be yelling at Williams and he was not happy at the end of game.
2016 Week 9 vs TEN (24 / 33 / 275 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
While it never seemed like Rivers was lighting up the stat sheet, he made up for the lack of explosiveness by being just about as efficient as possible. He only completed one pass longer than twenty yards (and it was actually a screen pass to Melvin Gordon that went for 35), but he completed four different passes that went for more than fifteen yards. He opened the game completing his first seven passes, as well as 14 of his first 16. San Diego mostly attacked the Tennessee defense with quick slant routes inside, screens, and comebacks down the seam. Rivers typically had loads of time to stand tall in the pocket and pick apart the defense while Melvin Gordon was dominating the Titans on the ground. All aspects of the Charger offense were just clicking as well as possible. There were two first half touchdown tosses by Rivers, the first on the team's opening drive of the game. He found Antonio Gates wide open at the goal line from 13 yards out for the score, and soon after that he found Tyrell Williams on a quick inside slant for another score. He nearly added a third when he took off scrambling up the middle while under a rare bit of pressure. Rather than taking a sack, he attempted to flip one up to Tyrell Williams in the back of the end zone, but he didn't really have control of the ball and it wasn't close to completion. In the second half, the San Diego offensive philosophy was basically to give the ball to Melvin Gordon and then get out of his way. It ended up working exceptionally well, although not necessarily for fantasy owners who were heavily invested in the Charger passing game. With most of their work being done before halftime and a lead late in the game, there wasn't as much need for the Chargers to take to the air which kept the passing stats a bit depressed. You got the sense though, that they really could have dominated any way they chose to in this one.
2016 Week 8 vs DEN (20 / 47 / 267 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers had loads of time on his first third down drop back of the game, finding Travis Benjamin for the first down conversion. It was one of the last times all game that he had enough time to step and throw. Most of the time, he was being hurried and chased from the pocket en route to a poor game for someone who entered the game in the early MVP discussions. On the team's opening possession, he found fullback Derek Watt for the biggest play of the game by either team. Looking to his left and finding no one open, Rivers checked down to his fullback who had leaked out of the backfield up the right side. Rivers found him for a 53-yard catch and run. Later in the drive, he fired a strike over the middle to Antonio Gates who then pushed by the defender into the end zone for the score. But after picking up 85 yards on their first seven plays, the Chargers totaled just 68 yards on their next thirty plays before halftime. The receivers just simply couldn't get any separation for him, and his first seven completions went to seven different players. At one point, he threw eight consecutive incompletions, which is almost unheard of for the normally accurate Rivers. Amongst those incompletions were two interceptions. Rivers turned it over three times in all. The first was a pass that was a bit high to Tyrell Williams that bounced off his fingertips and run back for a Denver touchdown. Early in the second half, he tried jamming a third down pass into traffic to Travis Benjamin, but the poor pass got batted up in the air and again intercepted. Shortly after that, he and Griff Whalen had different reads as Rivers threw a pass to the outside while Whalen broke to the inside. The ball was easily picked off by a Denver defender. He had earlier fumbled the ball away to the Broncos, but replays showed that his arm was coming forward and so that one was changed to an incomplete pass. Once he got over the turnover miscues, he managed to right the ship a bit and start putting some more drives together. He was drilled on a third and 9 pass play to Gates where he took a hard shot right to the midsection but managed to stand in and deliver the ball. That drive culminated in a touchdown pass to Benjamin that featured a remarkable individual effort by Benjamin to twist his body and make an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone. Late in the game with the Chargers trailing by eight points, Rivers engineered a drive that put them at the Denver 2-yard line. The team had been enjoying some success running the ball, but the coaches curiously chose to throw four straight passes from the two, all of which fell incomplete. San Diego got another chance with just over two minutes remaining, but that drive quickly stalled. Rivers was under a ton of pressure in the second half and was hit multiple times, and he appeared to be grimacing on the ground in pain after the last-gasp fourth down pass fell incomplete. There was no reported injury afterwards.
2016 Week 7 vs ATL (27 / 44 / 371 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -2 / 0 rush)
Rivers didn't light up the fantasy scoring column, as he threw just one touchdown in the game. But he was certainly the key to engineering all of the San Diego scoring drives in this game. Melvin Gordon was fortunate in that he got some carries from close scoring range, but the running game wasn't really effective in moving the football all game. For the most part, it was Rivers and the passing game who got the ball down the field and into the red zone, and Gordon who benefitted from that work. Rivers started well, tossing a perfect floater over the shoulder to Tyrell Williams for a 49-yard gain on the team's opening drive. On the next drive, Rivers threw an interception that was almost entirely not his fault. He threw a pass that was very slightly behind Dexter McCluster, but it was a very catchable pass. The ball bounced off of McCluster's hands and into the hands of a defender for an interception. Late in the first half, Rivers was hit and sacked for a fumble that was recovered by Atlanta. Again it was tough to pin the blame entirely on Rivers, who had almost no time to throw at times (and whose own lineman failed to jump on the loose ball when he could have). With San Diego having trouble moving the ball on the ground, Atlanta began applying more pressure on him. Because of that, Rivers was either getting sacked and hurried, or when the Chargers left an extra blocker in there, he was able to stand tall and hope his receivers could get open. There wasn't much in between. He attacked the defense with a lot of short passes over the middle to the aforementioned Gordon, and crossing routes to wideouts Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. The one touchdown pass Rivers threw was to beat a blitz. With Gates and Dontrelle Inman drawing the defensive attention away, Gordon was left free to leak out into the flat where Rivers found him for the easy score. Facing a fourth down with 2:00 left to play, Rivers fired a bullet pass to Gates to convert the first down and keep the drive alive. He was very nearly the hero when he again hit Gates perfectly in stride in the end zone for what could have been the game-winning touchdown. However, Gates dropped the football right at the goal line and San Diego had to settle for a field goal. They would later go on to win the game in overtime on the strength of the defense making a big fourth down stop.
2016 Week 6 vs DEN (18 / 29 / 178 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers entered the game needing just 125 yards to pass legendary Dan Fouts for first place on the Chargers all-time passing yardage list. He got to that number, but this wasn't a classic big-time statistical performance like we're used to seeing out of Rivers. Instead, the Charger offense was opportunistic and methodical, while the defense was actually the primary factor in taking down the first place Broncos. San Diego's first possession lasted precisely seven minutes, and culminated with Rivers finding his rookie tight end Hunter Henry on a quick slant in the end zone for the score. The pass was perfectly thrown, exactly where it needed to be. Later in the half, Rivers again found Henry for a nice gain. This one was with a defender bearing down on him, and River simply lofted it up over the top of the defense to find Henry in the flat. That was the one that pushed Rivers past Gates on the yardage list. As the half resumed, Rivers then engineered a drive that chewed up more than ten minutes of clock, though it stalled before reaching the end zone as they settled for a field goal. Opening the second half, Rivers looked to Tyrell Williams inside the 5-yard line, but he was dragged down from behind before he could get into the end zone. And then Rivers looked to the unheralded Griff Whalen on a quick inside slant, but again the tight coverage by Denver never really allowed the pass to come close. There was in fact significantly more pressure on Rivers in the second half than in the first. He wasn't being sacked a lot, but he hurried his passes a lot more and started looking frustrated after some miscommunication with his tight end Antonio Gates. The Chargers, who have seemingly invented new ways to lose this season, looked to be in some trouble late in the fourth quarter when Rivers took a bad sack causing a huge loss of yardage. But somehow the defense found a way to do just enough to keep the Broncos from getting any closer.
2016 Week 5 vs OAK (21 / 30 / 359 / 4 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers got some help in the form of two players returning to the lineup in OL King Dunlap and TE Antonio Gates. The return of Gates was a huge help in particular, because Rivers is largely playing with players he hasn't really had a whole lot of game action with until this season. Gates' return didn't go totally smoothly, as he fumbled the ball away in the red zone early on, costing the Chargers a scoring opportunity. Rivers then tossed a careless interception down the seam on a deep ball to Travis Benjamin that was returned a long way. The ball was underthrown and never really had a chance, and was the first play of the possession which really gave Oakland a lot of momentum. But Rivers regrouped and engineered a touchdown drive with a perfect 29-yard strike to wideout Tyrell Williams over the middle. Williams had beaten both defenders in the double team, and the Rivers pass led him perfectly away from them for the score. Late in the second half, Rivers heaved another deep ball down the seam on third and long, but that one was also easily picked off. On the one hand, you could say Rivers treated it almost like a punt and figured he would take a shot on completing it. On the other hand, the ball was returned a lot further than a punt likely would have been, so it may not have been the wisest decision. On the first play of the second half, Rivers was sacked and fumbled. The ball kicked around a bit by the defender before San Diego eventually recovered it. Despite the miscues, the Chargers were very much in the game and Rivers engineered several scoring drives the rest of the way. He tossed a dumpoff into the flat to running back Melvin Gordon, who waltzed into the end zone untouched for the easy 18-yard score. The next touchdown was considerably more difficult, as Rivers did a great job of looking off of his primary target (Gates) and checking down back to the left to find the wide open Hunter Henry in the back of the end zone. He did manage to hook up with Gates later on in the contest for his fourth score of the game. A quick slant by Gates, who then slipped inside the defender and followed a potentially illegal screen by wide receiver Tyrell Williams, brought the Chargers to within three points but they couldn't get any closer.
2016 Week 4 vs NO (28 / 43 / 321 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers picked the Saints apart early on, methodically moving the ball downfield with a series of short passes. Just as the Saints tightened up, Rivers picked the right time to go back over the top, connecting with Hunter Henry for a long score. With the offense rolling (and the Saints helping out with busted coverage), Rivers found Dontrelle Inman deep down the left sideline for a 57-yard touchdown in stride. Inman did the rest after the catch, beating the defense in the open field. There was a lot more short stuff from the Chargers, but it was highly efficient and getting decent yardage since the Saints receivers were constantly trailing the speedier Charger receivers. He was close to a third first half touchdown, another to Henry, but the ball was just out of range as Henry was unable to get a second foot down inbounds. Facing a third and long from inside the red zone late in the first half, Rivers threw one up for grabs into the end zone. It was intercepted, but Rivers was bailed out by an offsides penalty on the Saints. He threw it up there with such reckless abandon that one has to assume there's a decent chance Rivers knew it was a free play. In the second half, Rivers was actually under a good amount of duress which is part the reason he only attempted one deep shot (to Travis Benjamin, which fell incomplete due to very good defensive coverage). Part of that can possibly attributed to the fact that the running game was giving very little help to Rivers, so the Saints were free to target him a bit more. There also seemed to be some miscommunication between Rivers and his receivers on a few occasions. On one play, there were two receivers within a couple of feet of an intended target. On another, he was trying to throw a screen to Travis Benjamin but kind of darted the ball right into the ground. The last time Rivers came close to scoring was on a pass to Tyrell Williams from the goal line. After a pass interference penalty in the end zone, the Chargers lined up from the 1 and faked out everyone by taking to the air. The attempted screen to Williams was completed, but he was unable to beat his man to the end zone before being taken down. Melvin Gordon rumbled in from a yard out on the very next play. To Rivers' credit, he stood tall in the pocket despite the defensive pressure and continued putting his receivers in position to succeed. On one play, he may have stood tall a bit too long as he was hit by a defender and fumbled the ball, but he recovered it himself. Despite leading by 13 with only a few minutes left to play, the Chargers turned the ball over on successive offensive plays, a fumble by Melvin Gordon and another by Travis Benjamin. The Saints capitalized on both, scoring two touchdown to go up a point. Rivers and the Chargers got the ball back with just under two minutes left to play and trailing by one. But they quickly moved backwards, setting up a desperation 3rd and 22 pass play. Rivers perfectly fired one down the sideline to Inman, but a defender just got a fingertip on it to change the trajectory and cause it to be dropped. On the ensuing fourth down desperation heave, Rivers again fired one down that same sideline, but that one was picked off for his first interception of the season.
2016 Week 3 vs IND (26 / 39 / 330 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Rivers spread the ball around, with eight different players catching a pass in the game. But that may have been more a function of Rivers not having complete trust in any one guy at this point. Rivers is already without Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead for the remainder of the season, and his longtime passing game partner Antonio Gates was unavailable for this one. With all of the personnel changes, it's tough for him to establish a rapport with those who remain on such short notice. His first pass of the game went to Tyrell Williams, an easy catch that should have gone for nice yardage on third down. But Williams dropped the pass that hit him right in the hands. As the half went along, it became more and more apparent that Rivers was going to be under heavy duress from what was thought to be a suspect Colts defense. This, despite the fact that Indianapolis was coming at him with just three and four man fronts. Late in the half, he was stripped from behind and lost the ball to the Colts. Just before halftime, the Chargers appeared to grab the momentum with a fumble recovery and touchdown of their own, and Rivers came out in the second half firing on all cylinders. He found Travis Benjamin with a perfect deep ball down the sideline to set up a first and goal (a play on which Rivers was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting), and then found Hunter Henry on the next play for another first down to keep the drive moving. He finally appeared to be comfortable in the pocket for the first time all game. It wouldn't last, as the Colts turned up the pressure the rest of the half and kept the Chargers out of the end zone. On what would have been close to a game-clinching first down pass, Rivers was hurried a bit and threw it too high to Benjamin. The pass went off his fingertips, the Colts took over possession, and scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing drive. It's not necessarily panic time yet for Rivers owners, but one would have hoped for more than a handful of fantasy points on a day where he threw 39 passes against a poor defense.
2016 Week 2 vs JAX (17 / 24 / 220 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
You can count on one hand the amount of times that it appeared that Rivers did not have an answer for whatever the Jaguars threw at him, either pre-snap or post-snap. Despite losing several key pieces to injury, he looked calm and in command at all times and did a good job of spreading the ball around. Perhaps his most impressive trait was how easily he diagnosed and exploited the mismatches the Chargers offense created against the Jags, including finding Travis Benjamin in single coverage against linebackers several times. If there is any QB who can shoulder the losses that the Chargers have experienced, it is Rivers.
2016 Week 1 vs KC (25 / 36 / 243 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
Rivers completed 25 of 36 passes for 243 yards 1 touchdown and tacked on 2 rushes for 9 yards. Rivers did a great job distributing the ball to 7 different receivers throughout the game, targeting Travis Benjamin a team-high 8 times. Rivers day took a big hit when he lost star receiver Keenan Allen to a knee injury. Rivers lone touchdown came on a 4-yard pass to Danny Woodhead in the second quarter. With the loss of Allen, Rivers will quickly have to build chemistry with the likes of Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams before next week.
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