QB Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers
|6-5, 228||Born: 12-8-1981||College: North Carolina State||Drafted: Round 1, pick 4|
News you need to know
General News (Tue Feb 2): considered retirement after the 2014 season when he dealt with rib and back injuries. He eventually signed a four-year contract extension last August, and Rivers now says he feels far better this offseason than last. "This year, physically, I'm great. Emotionally, it's been rough, but I'm excited -- I really am excited about who the new core is going to be. I'm excited to be part of that group. I'm waiting for it, kind of letting them take it. ... It's not going to be the buddies I came with; they're going to be gone," Rivers said.
Week 21: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2015 Week 17 vs DEN (21 / 35 / 228 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Rivers faced a barrage of pressure, particularly early on. The Chargers kept getting the ball in decent field position due to some early Denver turnovers, but San Diego kept coming up short in terms of capitalizing on any of them. Rivers rarely looked down the field for big gains, in large part due to the lack of protection up front. Once the running game got going a little bit, it opened the passing game to do a bit more. When Rivers was afforded some time to throw, he was effective as usual. He found tight end Antonio Gates for a touchdown by flipping up a 50-50 jump ball to Gates, who did a terrific job of going high to snag it over his man. Rivers' second touchdown was a bit easier, a deep heave to wide receiver Tyrell Williams for a wide open 80-yard bomb with no defender within 20 yards of Williams on the play. Williams was also the target on a late pass attempt by Rivers over the middle with the game on the line, but the ball was mis-thrown since Rivers was under pressure. It was the story of the season for the Chargers, as offensive line protection broke down and forced a poor pass. The lone interception thrown by Rivers was also to Williams, but the pass was put a bit high and behind the target. It went through Williams' hands and into the waiting arms of a Denver defender. Announcer Phil Simms initially felt the pass should have been caught. It certainly COULD have been caught, but it's tough to say that it should have been. Either way, it was the lone turnover on Rivers' day, though running back Danny Woodhead bailed him out of a second one. Rivers bobbled a snap straight in the air. Woodhead alertly grabbed the ball out of the air to save Rivers from another turnover. With all of the offensive line turmoil Rivers faced in 2015, it's hardly a surprise that something like that happened. The Chargers will need to make a focused effort on improving the line in 2016 if they hope to keep their aging franchise quarterback upright for another 16-game season.
2015 Week 16 vs OAK (31 / 49 / 277 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The theme of the 2015 season continued, as the San Diego running game struggled for most of the afternoon. And as usual, the team relied on Rivers to throw it almost non-stop (the team attempted 49 passes versus just 25 rushing attempts). Early on, he had a decent amount of time to throw it and had a lot of receivers getting open in the secondary. At one point in the first half, he completed ten consecutive passes (with the streak only ending because wide receiver Dontrelle Inman dropped a very catchable comeback pass). The second half was another story, as the Raiders started getting some pressure on him. At one point, the rush came right at him but Rivers thought he could sidestep the pressure. Instead, the defender latched on and dragged him down in the end zone for a safety. Part of the problem for Rivers may have been that he lost two more linemen to injuries in this game, in what has been another recurring theme of his 2015 campaign. The day wasn't a total disaster from a fantasy perspective, however, as the sheer volume of passes led to a high yardage total. And he did manage to find the end zone once, although it could have been much more with a little bit of luck. Rivers had earlier hooked up with the aforementioned Inman on a quick slant inside for an easy touchdown from short range. The two had hooked up for a quick slant on a previous possession that took the ball down to about the 1-foot line, but Inman couldn't quite stretch in. Running back Donald Brown took it in from a yard out for the score instead. Rivers had yet another close call for a score late in the fourth quarter when he appeared to hook up with tight end Ladarius Green for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The ball was perfectly floated down the sideline and initially ruled a touchdown on the field, but replays determined that the ball moved a bit when Green hit the ground and it was called incomplete.
2015 Week 15 vs MIA (26 / 36 / 311 / 3 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
If this was the last Chargers game ever played at Qualcomm Stadium, Rivers certainly sent it out with style. He tied Dan Fouts' team record by going over 300 passing yards for the eighth time this season, and his stat line was more in line with his early-season dominance than the struggles of recent months. He did turn the ball over twice, but also played a part in getting one of them back almost immediately. He tried forcing one deep downfield to wide receiver Malcom Floyd, into a crowd of six players all around the ball. Floyd was pretty heavily blanketed on the play, and the ball bounced into the waiting arms of a defender. On the run back, the ball was stripped away from the interceptor and bounced around on the field for awhile. Rivers promptly pounced on the loose ball, earning his team a first down on the change of possession as well as huge cheers from the crowd. Rivers looked focused and determined right from the outset, converting multiple third downs on the opening drive. He capped that possession by floating one down the sideline to running back Danny Woodhead. It was the first of three times those two would connect for scores in the game. He connected with Woodhead later in the first half on a rollout to the right. Rivers bought some time and found Woodhead in the front corner of the end zone for the diving score - a terrific job by Rivers of squeezing it into a tight window. His third and final score to Woodhead came late in the game, a short pass over the middle that was essentially a dumpoff and Woodhead did the rest. For the first time in a long time, Rivers was NOT under heavy duress from the defense. And he even got some help from his running game in this one, which helps explain the success he enjoyed.
2015 Week 14 vs KC (24 / 43 / 263 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
The early season fantasy bonanza that Rivers owners enjoyed, has come to a crashing halt over the last several weeks. Even a player of Rivers' caliber is going to have a difficult time putting up big stats with all the many injuries surrounding him. He entered this game without Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, or Dontrelle Inman, a hobbled Antonio Gates, and an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries (he lost left tackle King Dunlap to reinjury in this one). It's no wonder, then, that he spent the majority of the game being rushed by the Kansas City pass rush. On one particular sack, one of the linemen didn't even realize the ball had been snapped. He stood there for a good 1-2 seconds as the pass rusher ran right by him and absolutely crushed Rivers for the sack. And on the rare occasions he was able to step into his throws, there was rarely anyone open. There were a few instances where he clearly tried forcing the issue to make a play, but as is often the case, they didn't work. One such pass ended up getting deflected by a defender and into the waiting arms of a defender for the interception. Furthermore, Rivers threw the pass off his back foot, which weakened the velocity enough to make the deflection easier. The Chargers only came close to scoring on two occasions, and shot themselves in the foot both times. On one instance, Rivers found a streaking Malcom Floyd in stride at around the 5-yard line. It should have gone for an easy 58-yard touchdown that would have tied the game up, but the sure-handed Floyd inexplicably dropped the ball. On San Diego's last-gasp desperation drive to try and tie the game, Rivers brought the team downfield via three separate fourth down pass conversions. One went to Javontee Herndon, and the other was a floater to tight end Antonio Gates with pressure in Rivers' face. San Diego got down to the goal line, but a delay of game penalty pushed them back to the 6-yard line. Clock management was another issue Rivers faced in this game, as he twice had to call timeouts in the first half to avoid delay of game penalties. From the six, Rivers hit tight end Ladarius Green in the hands, but the pass had a little much on it and couldn't be brought in. An ensuing false start flag backed them up to the 11-yard line. On the last try, Rivers again hit a receiver in the hands, this time running back Danny Woodhead, but the ball rolled up his arm and couldn't be brought in, sealing the Kansas City win.
2015 Week 13 vs DEN (18 / 35 / 202 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
For most of the season, Rivers has been able to rise above the many obstacles facing him. The injuries and ineffectiveness to the offensive line, the injuries to his receiving corps, and a lack of help from the running game. But combining all those factors along with facing arguably the league's best defense, proved to be too tall a task in this one. Rivers never did look comfortable in the pocket all game long. He was leaping as he made several pass attempts, scrambling out of the pocket, and forcing passes long before he really wanted to. He also turned the ball over on one critical play, and interception that was returned for a touchdown (the fifth time that has happened to Rivers this season). He actually threw a sixth "pick six", but there was a holding penalty on Denver which negated the turnover. It was a good thing for San Diego that the penalty was called too, because tight end Antonio Gates ran the wrong route and it would have been easily picked off even without the hold. Rivers was hit on what seemed like every single drop-back, and never really came close to finding the end zone. In the second half, he was nearly picked off again - although he had drawn the defense and probably knew he had a free play, so he took a shot at a home run ball. But the story of this game was the Denver pressure. One play in particular that pretty much summed up the entire performance came late in the contest. Running to his left while being chased by a defender, Rivers thought the pressure was closer than it really was. He threw the ball away - with his left hand - and the pass was thrown so softly that it didn't come close to reaching the line of scrimmage, and Rivers was called for intentional grounding.
2015 Week 12 vs JAX (29 / 43 / 300 / 4 / 0 pass, 5 / 9 / 0 rush)
Unlike in most recent games, Rivers didn't really have to deal with an intense pass rush in this game. Unsurprisingly, the lack of pressure allowed him to put up his best statistical performance in weeks. Rivers found his favorite target, tight end Antonio Gates, for two first half touchdowns, and added two more - one each to Dontrelle Inman and Stevie Johnson - in leading to San Diego to its first win since Week 4. In addition to the scores, Rivers completed nearly 70% of his passes. He was also able to scramble for two different first downs to keep drives alive. The first was a third and 4 scramble, and the second was an 8-yard run and dive at the sideline on a critical 4th and 7 situation. The scrambling ability isn't something to expect on a regular basis; rather, it serves as an illustration of how much time he had that a player as slow as him was able to rush for two first downs. What's more, Rivers never came close to turning the ball over. He did throw a deep ball early on that was in fact caught by a Jacksonville defender, but Rivers knew the jaguars had jumped offsides and he had a free play to work with. Other than that, he protected it well and moved it almost at will. The first touchdown was a slowly-developing play in which Inman broke free and jumped towards the sideline to haul in the short pass. Later in the half, Gates made a nice quick slant move off the line to get open for the easy score. Then just over a minute later, following a Jacksonville turnover, Gates broke free for a fade pattern to the right corner for an even easier score. The second half touchdown pass went to wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who went up high for the catch and managed to hold onto it upon being knocked to the ground by the defender. One scary moment for Rivers came in the first half when he was slow to get up after his knees appeared to have been rolled up on. He got up very gingerly and was shown limping around after the play, but other than going into the locker room early (as is typical for him), there were no suggestions of being bothered by anything health-wise the rest of the game.
2015 Week 11 vs KC (19 / 30 / 178 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / 8 / 0 rush)
It was a long day in what has become a long season for Philip Rivers. Up until this point, he had been able to overcome the losses of offensive lineman and receivers and continue to post huge stats. But that all came to a crashing halt in this one, as Rivers never got on track. The Chargers came out with a focus on running the football, and Rivers didn't throw a pass until there were less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter. He was under some duress early on, but did a nice job of remaining efficient and taking what the defense gave him. As the game went on though, the San Diego defense showed it wasn't up to the task of slowing the Chiefs and so Rivers began taking some more chances. His play grew sloppy, resulting in a few rushed passes and a very bad turnover that was returned for a touchdown. Simultaneously, the Chiefs turned up the defensive pressure on Rivers, knowing that the Chargers were throwing it on nearly every play. The added pressure forced even more poor passes, and he never came close to establishing any kind of rhythm. There were several more injuries suffered by offensive linemen, and even those who stayed in the game didn't do a very good job of protecting him. Things got so bad that there was a heated exchange at one point on the sideline between Rivers and long-time teammate Antonio Gates. Gates doesn't appear to be playing anywhere near 100%, and with both Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd missing from action as well, it's tough to see a way for Rivers to put up big stats moving forward.
2015 Week 9 vs CHI (26 / 42 / 280 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The best thing that can be said about Rivers is that he fought right to the very end. The Chargers came into the game without their best receiver due to Keenan Allen's season-ending injury. Star tight end Antonio Gates also appears to be playing at less than 100%. And wide receiver Malcom Floyd exited this game early on due to a shoulder injury. But Rivers kept the team in the game, and had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead late in the fourth quarter. But two sacks knocked them well out of field goal range, and Rivers' last-gasp hail mary pass was batted down incomplete. In between the beginning and the end, Rivers actually put up relatively good numbers. He wasn't terribly efficient, because with Gates at less than 100% and Allen missing, there weren't very many San Diego yards after the catch. Rivers did what he could in picking apart the Chicago defense, particularly against the blitz, but his receivers just couldn't get much separation. One rare occasion where they did was early on when Danny Woodhead snuck out of the backfield and got wide open down the sideline for an easy touchdown. Rivers flipped it out to him with no defenders in sight for the easy score. Rivers appeared to have thrown a second touchdown late in the game when he avoided the oncoming rush and rolled out to his right. He fired a strike to the back corner to Gates for the apparent touchdown, but officials ruled that a San Diego lineman was illegally downfield (he was) and the touchdown was nullified. On San Diego's final possession, those two sacks knocked them out of scoring range. And Rivers (and his fantasy owners) were fortunate that the fourth down pass attempt was dropped by the defender rather than catching the easy interception, saving him from a turnover that would have made zero difference in terms of the outcome but would have hurt his stat line.
2015 Week 8 vs BAL (28 / 37 / 301 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers entered the game with the NFL record for most passing attempts over a four game span. He left this game with yet another 300-yard performance, despite losing several key weapons for extended periods as well as a few more offensive linemen. Despite the lack of protection (or perhaps because of it), Rivers did a nice job with the quick strike offensive philosophy. Most of his targets were underneath, and he picked his spots to look downfield on the rare occasions that he had a little extra time to do so. He lost wide receiver Keenan Allen for the entirety of the second half after he left with an injury, lost tight end Ladarius Green very early on with an ankle injury, lost Stevie Johnson for a spell during the first half with a shoulder injury, and his safety valve Antonio Gates played sparingly after entering the game with an MCL injury (knee). But as usual, Rivers found ways to make it work with the personnel he DID have in there. He twice found Malcom Floyd for touchdowns, the first one a fantastic individual effort by Floyd to fight off the defender for the football on a fade pass. The second was a deep bomb down the middle of the field for 70 yards when the Chargers did a terrific job of picking up the Baltimore blitz. His other touchdown pass was another great effort by his receiver, the aforementioned Allen injury. Rivers put the ball high in the back left corner of the end zone to Allen, who went up and snagged it over the defender. Upon landing, however, Allen appeared to be in some pain and he did not return to the contest. Rivers kept his team in the game with smart decisions and zero turnovers, though there were two close calls. On one, he fumbled the snap on a third down play that was designed to be a run, but he recovered it himself. On another, the ball was snapped at his feet, but he flipped it away for an incompletion before anyone could grab it.
2015 Week 7 vs OAK (38 / 58 / 336 / 3 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
A week ago, Rivers set team records for completions, attempts, and yards. Coming into this game, it was assumed that the Chargers would try to establish the run a bit more. Try as they might, they were never able to get that running game on track. So Rivers fired up nearly 60 more passes in this game. Rivers put them in an early hole with an interception on his second pass attempt of the game. He threw it into traffic, it bounced off its intended target's hands, and directly to the Raiders. And it only got worse from there. While Rivers was doing a nice job of spreading the ball around, it was all short attempts over the middle and very little down the field. His second interception of the first half was a mis-timed (and miscommunicated) timing route to Keenan Allen along the sideline. He looked to have released it too quickly, and by that point the rout was on. Since San Diego's defense provided very little resistance, the San Diego offense had to just keep on throwing to try and get back in it. Late in the first half, Rivers was nearly picked off a third time. This one bounced off a defender's fingertips and up in the air, but it fell incomplete. The second half started much the same way the first half ended, with a ball bouncing off a few defenders before also falling incomplete. Just when it appeared his day was coming to a close, he led a spirited comeback that also simultaneously salvaged his fantasy owners. Despite playing inefficiently almost the entire game and putting his team in a 31-6 hole, the Raiders softened up the defense enough to allow Rivers to threw a few scores late in the game. His first one was a wide open crossing route to tight end Ladarius Green, who then beat his defender to the edge and waltzed into the end zone untouched. His second touchdown was a wide open pass to running back Danny Woodhead in the flat for the easy score. Rivers appeared to throw a third touchdown, this one to Allen. But officials ruled that Allen had pushed off, so the score was negated. Fortunately for Rivers owners, he marched them back into the red zone and soon found Woodhead again for a very similar touchdown, this one to the other side of the field. On each of the Woodhead touchdowns, Rivers linked up with Green for two point conversions, adding even more to his fantasy ledger. While it may not have been the prettiest way to compile points, fantasy owners won't complain about the sheer volume of passes and the end result.
2015 Week 6 vs GB (43 / 65 / 503 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The fact that Rivers put up the stats he did, with the patchwork offensive line, non-existing running game, and banged-up receiving corps he had, is almost unfathomable. Rivers set new Chargers single-game records for attempts, completions, and passing yards. He brought the team back from 14 points down against one of the better teams in the league, in one of the toughest road environments to do so. And with Stevie Johnson missing the entire game and star receiver Keenan Allen missing the fourth quarter, it's a wonder that Rivers was able to move the ball as well as he did. If there was one knock on Rivers' performance, it's that he only found the end zone on two occasions, despite attempting 65 passes. He had some chances early on, but had back-to-back passes go off the fingertips of his two big tight ends. The first was to Ladarius Green and was thrown a bit too high for him to come down with it. The second wasn't actually in the end zone to Antonio Gates, but we'll never know if he could have scored because the ball bounced off his fingertips at the doorstep of the end zone. That was actually the second near-touchdown to Gates in the first half, as Rivers overthrew him earlier in the half with Gates running free in the secondary. Rivers' ankle was hit as he threw, which appeared to disrupt the timing and strength of the throw just enough to have it sail over Gates' head. But with just seconds remaining in the first half and San Diego facing a fourth down, head coach Mike McCoy opted to go for it. Rivers floated a perfect pass to the back corner of the end zone to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman for the touchdown. Rivers opened the second half continuing his rhythm, finding Malcom Floyd streaking down the seam for 50 yards to convert a third and 17 play. Soon after, he hoisted one perfectly over the shoulder of Ladarius Green for the score, putting the ball in a spot that only Green could get to it. That play put Rivers at 300 passing yards, and it was still early in the third quarter. As the second half went on, Green Bay started getting more pressure on Rivers, but he adjusted by releasing the ball a bit quicker. He started picking the defense apart on the shorter crossing routes instead, and had a lot of success there as well. Unfortunately for Rivers, he couldn't get them on the scoreboard to tie it up late in the fourth quarter. He brought them to the doorstep of the end zone, but curiously the team opted to run the ball twice despite all the success they were having through the air. Those two rushing attempts went nowhere, another pass sailed out of the end zone (and Rivers failed to see daylight in front of him on that play, and if he had just run it up the middle he likely would have scored untouched), and the fourth down pass attempt was batted down at the goal line before it could reach its intended target Danny Woodhead. In addition to the big stats, Rivers also avoided turnovers, although there were a few near-misses. Malcom Floyd played defensive back on one deep ball down the sideline, breaking up a near-interception. He also avoided a turnover when a Green Bay defender couldn't hang onto a pass that hit him right in the chest near the sideline. It should be noted that that play appeared to be a case of miscommunication, and wasn't a poor throw by the quarterback.
2015 Week 5 vs PIT (35 / 48 / 365 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers was red hot on the first drive, mostly renewing acquaintances with Antonio Gates, including the drive-capping touchdown. Penalties, sacks, and the clock shut down the Chargers offense for the remainder of the first half. The Chargers relied more on Melvin Gordon to open the second half, and he fumbled, and then when the Chargers went back to Rivers as the focal point, another third and long resulted in a pick six that irrevocably changed the flow of this game. Rivers led the Chargers to two field goals and a touchdown in the final three drives, but having a pass batted down to Keenan Allen that could have been a decisive touchdown ended up betraying the Chargers, as the Steelers drove down to score what was a game-winning instead of game-tying touchdown. Rivers offensive line woes are holding back his team, but they didn't hold back his numbers.
2015 Week 4 vs CLE (23 / 38 / 358 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Rivers has to be given a lot of credit for remaining tall in the pocket with a lot of pressure once again coming at him from all angles. The opening possession of the game set the tone for most of the first half, as the Chargers are still trying to adjust to their many offensive line issues (injuries among them). The timing was off with several passes, he wasn't able to step into throws, and there were several atypical cases of miscommunication between he and his receivers. Late in the first half, he finally began finding a rhythm. After starting the game 0-4, at one point Rivers completed nine of his next eleven. Included among them was a perfectly-thrown ball to the front corner of the end zone to Keenan Allen. Allen made a fantastic adjustment on the play, reaching out to bring it in with a diving effort for the touchdown. Rivers added two second half touchdown passes, both to tight ends not named Antonio Gates. With Gates set to return from suspension next week, the other big guys kept the spotlight to themselves for one more week. Ladarius Green was questionable to play after suffering two concussions in the past month, but ended up suiting up for the game. He went high over a defender to haul in a deep ball from Rivers from 19 yards out. The final touchdown pass by Rivers was considerably easier, as the entire defense collapsed on the fake to running back Melvin Gordon, leaving backup tight end Joh Phillips wide open in the back of the end zone for the score. On the game-winning field goal drive, Rivers completed just two passes (one each to Allen and Green) to put the team in range for the game-winning kick.
2015 Week 3 vs MIN (21 / 34 / 246 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Rivers was under heavy duress all game long. He was hit on nearly every drop-back early on, and rarely had much time to do anything. He had one really bad turnover early on when he held onto the ball a bit too long. He was hit just as he was about to throw, and the ball popped loose and was recovered by Minnesota. Aside from one drive late in the first half, the offense never did get into any kind of rhythm, and San Diego was blown out so badly that Rivers was actually pulled from the game with over eight minutes left to play. On that one positive drive, he finally got a little bit of time and found a streaking Malcom Floyd deep down the field for a 39-yard gain. It was a perfectly-thrown ball, and was by far their longest play of the game. Later on that possession, Rivers fired one down the sideline to Keenan Allen, who hauled in a tough catch as two defenders collided around him. Allen then simply waltzed into the end zone with absolute ease. But when the second half commenced, it was back to more of the same for the Charger offense. Rivers was sacked on third down on their opening possession of the second half, and it only got worse from there. Later in the half, he took a huge hit to the ribs and had a lot of trouble getting to his feet. The Chargers called a timeout to give him some time to regroup, and he stayed in. But soon after that, he threw a pass intended for Stevie Johnson. The ball popped off of Johnson's hands and into the waiting arms of a Minnesota defender, who returned it for a touchdown. Rivers' afternoon mercifully ended when backup Kellen Clemens came in with just under nine minutes left in the game.
2015 Week 2 vs CIN (21 / 27 / 241 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Rivers was without one of his best offensive lineman in D.J. Fluker for this game, so special attention was paid to his protection. It didn't take long for that to become an issue, as he was hit from behind early on and lost the ball for a fumble. Aside from that one hiccup, though, he was mostly efficient. He extended a streak that began in Week 1 in which he completed 22 consecutive passes. Rivers finally threw one a bit behind wide receiver Stevie Johnson that was unable to be corralled, ending the streak. Johnson was one of his favorite targets on the day, resulting in a second half touchdown pass. That touchdown was the 255th of his career, which broke Dan Fouts' team record for touchdown passes. It also tied Rivers with Sonny Jurgensen for 14th in league history. Rivers' favorite first half target was Ladarius Green, who seemingly got open at will until the second half when Cincinnati started double-teaming the big tight end. With Green effectively taken out of the mix, Rivers once again started looking to his backs and receivers. He could never really get on the same page with last week's hero Keenan Allen, but he did link up with Malcom Floyd for a long 40-yard deep ball that resulted in a touchdown after some blown coverage by the Bengals. The ensuing two point conversion attempt (the first by San Diego in nearly four years) was a poorly-executed screen pass attempt to Allen that was blown up behind the line of scrimmage. On the last-gasp comeback attempt, Rivers tried forcing one over the middle from his own 31-yard line and about a minute left. The defender made a phenomenal play on the pass, hanging onto it and twisting to the ground despite a lot of contact. It was the only interception thrown by Rivers on the day, although there were a couple of close calls that were either dropped or deflected harmlessly to the ground. There was one very Philip Rivers-esque play late in the first half when he scrambled towards the sideline. As the defender eased up, seemingly expecting Rivers to duck out of bounds, Rivers instead lowered his shoulder into the defender to try to gain a few extra yards. The two were then seen jawing at one another immediately afterwards.
2015 Week 1 vs DET (35 / 42 / 404 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Rivers looked more like the MVP contender of last year's first half, than the guy who struggled down the stretch to close out the season. Clearly, the team has surrounded him with a bevy of weapons that should help keep him amongst this year's elite passers. In this game, he tied Dan Fouts with the 254th touchdown pass of his career, as well as setting a team record with 404 passing yars in a single game. Early on, the Lions pass rush got to him on several occasions. Rivers also made a couple of costly mistakes, with two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown by the Lions, and another that could have been a touchdown but Rivers threw it behind wide receiver malcom Floyd in the end zone). But Rivers was surgical in the second half, picking Detroit apart almost at will. They had no answers for Rivers or the rest of the team, as he calmly sat in the pocket and identified the most open player on each play. More often than not, that player was wide receiver Keenan Allen. But he really spread the wealth around a great deal.
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