Heading into training camp each summer, the San Diego Chargers can expect the outcome of their season to be dictated by the same three storylines: promising rookies, quality veteran playmakers and PHILIP RIVERS.
2015 is turning into something special for Rivers, who is having another exceptional year throwing the football. He’s currently on a pace to pass for over 5500 yards, which would shatter his previous high mark of 4710 passing yards in 2010. More importantly, Rivers has completed 70 percent of his passes, which is remarkable considering he’s making plays with few playmakers at the wide receiver position.
Injuries have voided both starting wideouts out of the lineup, as Keenan Allen is loss for the remainder of the year with a lacerated kidney and Malcom Floyd separated his shoulder during the Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 9. With the amount of receiving options dwindling each week; it’s amazing that Rivers has continued to put up huge passing numbers with this patchwork unit.
Who is this collection of unknowns? Well, the top two new wideouts are Dontrelle Inman and Javontee Herndon. Not exactly household names, but they both have the ability to create space and give Rivers an angle to get them the football. Great quarterbacks find a way to put points on the scoreboard regardless who is left to catch the football.
It’s hard to watch a player of Rivers’ ability wasting away on a terrible football team. If he was playing on a playoff contender, Rivers would be the league’s leading MVP candidate heading into the second half of the regular season. This year has illustrated the greatness and ugly flaws that are the multi-layered onfield personality of Rivers, as you can make the argument that he’s the lone playmaker left in the Chargers offense. The talent lost since the beginning of the regular season hasn’t been equaled by their replacements.
The key to Rivers continuing on this record pace is that he must trust that his running back duo of Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead can carry the load in the passing game. You do this by having them on the field together at the same time, either in a two-back set or split one of them out wide to take advantage of the intermediate pass routes. Hopefully, this will cut down the increased amount of errant throws that have turned into momentum-swinging interceptions for the opposition.
The NFL is a quarterback league, where the elite protect the football and know how to close out a victory. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award this season and become the toast of the league once again. However, no one can deny that Rivers is having his finest season ever in San Diego.