NFL analyst Mike Lombardi blasted Colts QB Philip Rivers after his latest poor performance.
Any fans in Indianapolis growing fatigued of all the Philip Rivers content following the Colts’ maddening loss to Cleveland in Week 5 should probably get used to it, because the decision to sign him over other potential stopgap options looks like it will ultimately cost them the chance at reaching their ceiling.
Rivers drew the ire of analysts and fans after his dreadful showing on Sunday, in which he committed a safety after getting flagged for throwing the ball away in the end zone, tossed two boneheaded interceptions that felt rookie-esque, and botched a snap on a pivotal third down late in the second half when the Colts desperately needed to put seven points on the board.
How bad was the 38-year-old quarterback’s performance? We’re glad you asked, because head coach Frank Reich actually took questions from reporters about whether he was considering benching him this week.
Rivers simply has to own up to the scrutiny he’s come under the last few days, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. In his latest column for The Athletic, analyst Mike Lombardi blasted the veteran signal caller after his dreadful start under center for Indianapolis.
When speaking on the Colts’ glaring lack of success in terms of scoring touchdowns in the red zone, Lombardi wrote:
“The defense is never worried about Rivers moving them or as a potential threat to run, so they focus on the play. And unless the Colts can run the ball for scores, converting third downs in the red zone with zero movement from the quarterback is damn near impossible.”
Then, however, Lombardi shifted to lambasting Rivers’ pitiful decision-making, which he claims comes down to his inability to adjust to the speed of today’s NFL.
“His late throw to the flat this past Sunday in Cleveland, which turned into a pick six, was a horrible decision and a seemingly unaware throw. Rivers is too smart to throw late to the flat. . . . “And the reason for this dumb behavior is that he is panicked in the pocket. The game is moving too fast for him. Rivers is much like an old boxer who never reacted to punches before and now reacts to all of them and seems flustered.”
Any fans in Indianapolis should really take the time to read Lombardi’s full article, because all of his pointers, which include how his rapidly declining arm strength only puts pressure on the offensive line to give him more time in the pocket, are all spot on.
Through five games, Rivers is just one of four quarterbacks — Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold being the others — to have thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) this season. On top of that, he ranks 23rd among qualified quarterbacks with a 57.6 QBR. To put it simply, that’s not what the Colts signed up for when they gave him $25 million back in March.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and Rivers’ turnover issue has reared its ugly head in Indy despite working with a superior offensive line to that of the Chargers. Barring an unexpected change in form, it looks like Colts general manager Chris Ballard was dead wrong in thinking that Rivers could put them over the top and compete with the best teams in the AFC this season.