What quality of teams did Philip Rivers usually play with?
Some seasons, the Chargers’ teams with Rivers had good defense, good offensive lines, and good running games.
And in those seasons the Chargers went 14-2, 13-3, 12-4, etc. And remember that LT ran for 1,000 yards or more in only five of Rivers’ 14 years as a Chargers starter.
The one year the Chargers went to the Conference Championship, they lost to some perennially weak team called the New England Patriots. Pushovers. Rivers famously played without an ACL. Oft forgotten is that superstar tight end Antonio Gates was limping, and most crucially, MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson got pulled early with a bad leg:
"“I got caught on a sweep by Tedy Bruschi. He’s a good linebacker, but if I can get run down by Tedy Bruschi, I am not useful to your team.” – LaDainian Tomlinson, after trying to play in AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots"
I watched most of Philip Rivers’ games for 15 years. For so many years, Rivers, famously immobile, had to run for his life behind offensive lines that were chorus lines. Why do you think Rivers had the fastest release time in the whole league?
Is Rivers responsible for Marlon McCree and Nate Kaeding?
In another famous Chargers-Patriots playoff game, the Pats were down eight with six minutes remaining. Chargers safety Marlon McCree intercepted the ball in San Diego’s end. He could have grounded the ball and the Chargers could’ve run out all or most of the clock, and might have put on more points, but A) Marlon decided he was the man to try and run the ball back for a TD, and B) he carried the football like a stinky bag of dog poop.
Having made a terrific gain of three whole yards, McCree fumbled the ball around the Chargers’ 30 (I recall to this day), and the Patriots tied the game, then won. McCree’s decisions that day were as bad as when he decided to participate in an insurance fraud scheme. I’m sure he’s paroled by now. Some might say, “Other players don’t lose games, only quarterbacks do.“ Baloney.
Then there was playoff losses with a kicker that was the greatest head case in a long line of kicker head-cases, Nate Kaeding. In the regular season, Kaeding was Nate the Great. He left the Chargers in 2012 with (then) the highest completion rate ever by a kicker: 86.5%. In the playoffs, he was Nate DeFlate: 33% at home, 51% overall.
2004, 2006, 2007 (McCree Fumble Game), and 2009. In FOUR playoff games, he kicked defeat out of the jaws of victory. He missed three field goals against the Jets: one from 40 yards, one from 36 yards. He missed a game-tying field goal against the Patriots. Fate Kaeding tried his best, I don’t blame him. But why blame Rivers for the team not winning those playoffs? Yeah, I know, “Kickers don’t lose games, quarterbacks do.”