Colts: It’s time to admit Philip Rivers should be starter in 2021 too

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) /

Should Philip Rivers’ consistency earn him the opportunity to be the Colts’ starting quarterback in 2021?

From the rushing attack failing to replicate the success it enjoyed in 2019, to the defense morphing into a championship-caliber group, and star wideout TY Hilton disappearing for the first 11 games of a contract year, the Indianapolis Colts have been full of surprises this season.

Perhaps the most shocking development, however, has been the dependability (especially in big games) of Philip Rivers, and it might be time for fans and the media to admit that we were dead wrong about him being an ineffective stopgap option under center for Indy.

If his latest clean performance in Sunday’s demolition of the Raiders didn’t prove that, then we’re honestly not sure what will.

We’d be the first to admit that we overreacted to Rivers’ discouraging start to the campaign, when he threw more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) over the Colts’ first five games, but who didn’t? He came up short in the clutch numerous times and was committing the same back-breaking mistakes that made him such a polarizing figure among Chargers fans for 16 years.

In the eight weeks since, however, Rivers has been nothing short of revelation under center. For the season, the 38-year-old gunslinger is now completing 68.1% of his passes for 3,507 yards (7.7 YPA) and 20 touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions, helping the Colts average 28.6 points per game in the process.

For those wondering, three of those statistics — completion percentage, passing yards and yards gained per completion — rank in the top 10 among qualified quarterbacks. You mean to tell us that Indianapolis shouldn’t re-sign a quarterback who’s proven to still be a borderline top-10 player at the position in their offense?

We obviously aren’t saying that Rivers is the long-term answer at quarterback, and Indy shouldn’t think twice about drafting their guy if he falls to them next April. However, if we had to choose between retaining him on a reasonably cheap one-year deal or giving up draft compensation to roll the dice on an unproven commodity (like Carson Wentz or Sam Darnold), we’d side with Rivers in a landslide.

The eight-time Pro Bowler has simply been everything the Colts could’ve asked for and more, and deserves the opportunity to run it back under center in 2021 prior to a draftee or Jacob Eason taking over.