The LA Chargers welcomed a new era at quarterback but many fans were paying attention to the quarterback of old.
The LA Chargers game on Sunday was historic. It was the first game since 2005 that Philip Rivers did not start at quarterback for the Bolts. Drew Brees was the last quarterback without the last name Rivers on his jersey to start for the Chargers. Tyrod Taylor broke a 224-game streak.
Taylor got the victory. The Chargers emerged victoriously, albeit with some luck from a missed chip-shot field goal from Randy Bullock. Rivers, meanwhile, dropped a winnable game with the Indianapolis Colts to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The two games were the perfect antithesis of each other. Rivers took the gunslinging risks that he always takes, racking up 363 passing yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Taylor, meanwhile, was conservative, racking up 208 yards with no touchdowns but no interceptions.
Rivers completed 78.3 percent of his passes, Taylor completed 53.3 percent. Rivers had a 88.7 passer rating, Taylor had a 75.4. The defense did not help Rivers out at all, while the defense won the game for the LA Chargers.
It raises the question:
Would Philip Rivers have won in Week 1 with the LA Chargers?
First, we have to clear some things. We are going to assume that the Chargers would have the exact same team if Rivers was still under center. Yes, he would have been paid more and thus the team would not have been able to bring in some of the free-agent talent.
However, it will then get into a discussion about who the Chargers still would have signed and how big of an impact those players had on the game. This is about how Rivers would have impacted the game.
With that out of the way, my answer is a resounding yes.
“But what about the interceptions?”
Common sense tells us that the Chargers would not have won a 16-13 game with Rivers because he would have had at least one crucial interception that kept the Chargers from scoring and allowed the Bengals to score.
And while it is safe to assume that an interception would have happened, it is also safe to assume that this would not have been a 16-13 game.
The Chargers had four three-and-outs, including a crucial one after Melvin Ingram bailed the team out with an interception on a Joe Burrow shovel pass. With Rivers, the Colts did not punt once. Yes, they are different teams, but I think it is safe to say that the three-and-outs would have at least been cut in half with Rivers.
They would have scored more points. While Rivers is no longer the quarterback he use to be, I don’t think it is a crazy thing to assume that Rivers could have at least added another seven points to this game, minimum.
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The team would have been better in the red zone and one of the field goals could have been a touchdown and then the missed field goal, say, could have been a made field goal with the team getting closer to the end zone.
Again, we are playing the what-if game, but I do not think it is absurd to say that the Chargers would have scored at least 23 points with Rivers.
Would his interceptions have swung 10+ points in the Bengals favor, especially considering there probably would not be as many three-and-outs for the Bolts? No. Would the game have still be close? Probably. But there is a much better chance of the Chargers winning this game by a fitting margin rather than a three-point margin.
Plus, if Bullock misses that field goal, the Chargers easily could have lost. Based on the way the offense played I would not have trusted them to drive down the field and score a touchdown. The team’s only touchdown was after a 45-yard kickoff return from Joe Reed. Unless that happened again, we could have seen another punt and then a Chargers loss.
Tyrod Taylor did make some big plays. He had a great deep ball to Mike Williams that set up a field goal and a fantastic stiff arm and dart to Jalen Guyton to extend a drive. Obviously, Philip Rivers would not do the same thing in the latter situation.
However, the LA Chargers absolutely would have won this game with Philip Rivers under center. This is not to say that the team should not have moved on from Rivers, as it was time to do so, but the idea that this game would have had a different result with Rivers under center is a bit silly.
This was a game that the LA Chargers SHOULD have won. They barely did.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!