As fans of the San Diego Chargers continue to pick up pieces of their slightly damaged, or even broken hearts, thanks to one disappointing loss after another, there is a bolting spark at the end of this, and that is the play of quarterback Philip Rivers.
It isn’t too presumptuous to say he is one of the franchise’s most valuable quarterbacks, as he is currently making his way into the NFL’s all-time list for touchdown passes.
With 10 minutes left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders, Rivers found rookie tight end Hunter Henry in the end zone to take a 24-16 lead.
This was his third touchdown pass of the day, and it also marked his 291st of his career to pass Johnny Unitas, his grandfather’s favorite player, and also tied for ninth with Warren Moon on the NFL’s all-time list.
The Raiders answered back with a field goal to cut the lead to 24-19 with four minutes left in the third. Melvin Gordon fumbled the ball for the second time this season and the Raiders once again took advantage of the possession. They scored a touchdown and converted a two to take a 27-24 lead. No surprise to see the Chargers blow another lead late in the game, right?
Oakland pushed their lead to 10 to start the fourth quarter, but not all hope was lost. San Diego kept their focus and Rivers threw a four-yard pass to Antonio Gates for a touchdown to cut that lead to three.
With that completion, he passed Moon for the eighth spot on the list.
Ultimately, the Chargers’ collapse seemed evident, and they once again fell short of winning the game. Instead of going for a touchdown to win the game on fourth-and-one from Oakland’s 18-yard line, the Chargers went for a field goal. It went completely wrong, and well, obviously that was it. As the Chargers fell to 1-4 on the season, terribly, the Raiders are tied with the Denver Broncos for first place in the division, and they are the Chargers next opponent.
Rivers, on the other hand, despite a disappointing loss once again, finished 21-for-30 for 359 yards and four touchdowns and moved up a couple of spots on the NFL’s all-time list for touchdown passes.
Among active players, Drew Brees sits at the top with 438, while Tom Brady has 431. There’s no doubt those two will probably break their own records this season and hopefully Rivers will someday pass them.
For now, Eli Manning sits above Rivers with 299 touchdowns and there’s a pretty good chance Rivers could pass him this season. But, that’s if the rest of the Chargers allow him to do so because as we already know, they’re not doing that well collectively as a team.
They can win and have the abilities to do so, but unfortunately it hasn’t lasted more than three quarters. There was so much to look forward to as the season began, but fumbles, blowing leads, and key injuries have put a damper on it. Who knows if the team can bounce back. With the Chargers losses, firing head coach Mike McCoy talks have sparked more and more fire and #FireMcCoy has become a thing.
Philip Rivers is not the reason they are losing. Trading him for more draft picks would not be the answer. He is here to stay and I hope that the team can get it together sooner rather than later. If not, more jokes will be made, and I’m not just talking about the team itself.
Let us salvage what is left of our hearts, and even our minds, to watch this next game with the desire for this team to win, and not fumble it away like they have done with our hopes each previous game this 2016 season. It’s hard enough to see the team take a loss on the field, but seeing them lose off the field is salt in the wounds.
Philip Rivers passing the legendary Johnny Unitas in the all-time career touchdown pass record book is a major accomplishment. Rivers is not widely regarded as one of the best in the league, but he continues to prove otherwise with the numbers he puts up and the records he breaks. Yes, playing in this modern era is more beneficial for passers, but Rivers longevity and success cannot be denied. He is one of the best in the business and we are lucky to have him behind center for us.