Bolt Beat Monday Mailbag: Philip Rivers and the fourth quarter

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Question 2

Who is to blame on Rivers inability to perform in the last 2 minutes of each half? He is a top 3-5 quarterback in the league other than the last 2 minutes of each half. Who’s job is it to teach him to care about time and run a 2 minute drill rather than scanning the field and thinking about every permutation as the clock runs away. Team is close, but Phil’s 2 minute drill is mind blowing for an elite QB with one of the best football minds in game.   How tough is it to train him to get to line, snap ball and trust your reads? Brady was far better than Rivers 2 years into the league. Who is to blame as this stage all Rivers or offensive coordinators? -Scott

I strongly disagree here that Rivers blows the end of games. Here are outcomes from the 2017 season alone that show otherwise:

  1. Chargers/Broncos Week 1: Philip Rivers gets the ball down 21-24 with 2:00 to play. Leads the team to the Denver 26 to kick a field goal and force overtime. Blocked.
  2. Chargers/Dolphins Week 2: Rivers gets the ball down 17-19 with 1:01 to play. Leads the team down to the Miami 26 to kick a field goal to win the game. Miss.
  3. Chargers/Eagles Week 3: Rivers gets the ball down 17-26 with 9:14 left to play. Drives the ball 75 yards in 2:30 (now 24-26) to give the team a chance to play defense, get the ball back, and score to win. Never happens, Philadelphia runs 6:44 off the clock.
  4. Chargers/Giants Week 5: Eli Manning fumbles the ball, and Rivers gets the ball back with 3:46 left to play in the game. Must score a touchdown. He does with a pass to Melvin Gordon, and the Chargers win their first game of the season. Rivers also led a drive prior to the fumble that got the team a field goal to put them within two.
  5. Chargers/Raiders Week 6: Philip Rivers gets the ball down 14-16 with 3:08 left to play, on the road. Leads a game-winning field goal drive with no time left.

I’m only six weeks into the season, and five out of those six times Rivers came through for his team in crunch time. Through those weeks and throughout the season, you’re more than welcome to argue that Rivers blew a game by not playing well the whole game. But the dude was clutch last season, regardless of how the rest of his teammates finished (or didn’t).