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Rivers makes splash

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20061123-113208-7930r.htm">The Washington Times</a>

    <img title="Philip Rivers" alt="Philip Rivers" src="http://images.tsn.ca/images/stories/20061008/rivers_85948.jpg" />

    By David Elfin

    Conservative San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer took a big gamble in March, letting quarterback Drew Brees leave as a free agent and entrusting the position to Philip Rivers, who had thrown only 30 passes since being drafted fourth overall in 2004.

    Brees has been instrumental in the New Orleans Saints doubling their victory total from last year and is on pace to pass for 4,982 yards -- the second most in NFL history -- but Rivers has been equally dazzling for the 8-2 Chargers.

    Rivers' 99.7 passer rating ranks third and is the third highest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger for a quarterback with at least eight starts in his first year as a regular. The two higher ranked new passers, St. Louis' Kurt Warner in 1999 and the New York Jets' Chad Pennington in 2002, led their teams to division titles with the Rams winning the Super Bowl.

    Winning the Super Bowl might prove too difficult for the defensively challenged Chargers -- who have allowed 29 points a game in their four-game winning streak. However, winning the AFC West for the second time in three years is looking likely after San Diego overcame a 24-7 deficit to beat the Broncos 35-27 in Denver last Sunday.

    Rivers didn't have one of his better games, throwing two of his five interceptions and passing for just 222 yards, but he remained superb in the fourth quarter (130.9) and on third down (107.5). It certainly helps when Rivers can get the ball in the hands of LaDainian Tomlinson. With 22 touchdowns in 10 games, Tomlinson should shatter the record of 28 set last year by Seattle running back Shaun Alexander. Tomlinson is also on pace for 2,381 yards from scrimmage, just 48 behind the record set by Rams running back Marshall Faulk in 1999.

    "We're just a relentless group of guys," Tomlinson said. "We feel like we're never out of a ball game no matter how much we're down. You have to keep playing against us because we feel like we can score at any time. You guys have seen that the last couple of weeks."

    Since the defensive-minded Schottenheimer sat on a lead in Baltimore on Oct. 1 only to have San Diego lose 13-10, the Chargers are 6-1. The first team to win four straight while allowing at least 24 points in each game, San Diego leads the league with 33.2 points a game, just 1.6 behind Minnesota's record in 1998.

    San Diego should only get better once Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman returns next week from a four-game steroids suspension and top defensive tackle Luis Castillo recovers from an ankle injury that sidelined him the past two weeks. With their three AFC West rivals plus lowly Arizona still to visit and with road games only at so-so Buffalo and Seattle, the Chargers have a good shot at a first-round bye and maybe ending Schottenheimer's five-game playoff losing streak.

    The only coaches with more regular season victories than Schottenheimer's 194 are Hall of Famers Don Shula (three championships), George Halas (six), Tom Landry (two) and Curly Lambeau (six). Schottenheimer, 63, has yet to even reach the title game, losing four AFC Championship games with Cleveland and Kansas City. Maybe this is finally his year.

    Holmes done? -- While Tomlinson thrives, Kansas City back Priest Holmes, who led the league in rushing in 2001, in yards from scrimmage in 2002 and in touchdowns in 2002 and 2003, is probably finished. The Chiefs have until 3 p.m. Tuesday to decide whether to activate Holmes or keep him on the physically unable to perform list. Holmes hasn't practiced or played since suffering head and neck trauma after being tackled by Merriman last Oct. 30.

    "I mentioned at the beginning of the season we were going to keep this window open as long as possible," Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said. "Priest is working out. He's making progress."

    Maybe, but Holmes, who missed the final eight games of 2004 with a knee injury and turned 33 last month, isn't needed in Kansas City where his former backup, Larry Johnson, is playing as well as any back not named Tomlinson.

    No O in Oakland -- Pity the Oakland defense. The Raiders have allowed an average of just 14.2 points during the past six games, but Oakland sunk to 2-8 because the offense averaged just 11.8 points. The Raiders are on pace to score just 189 points, fewest in the franchise's 47-year history and 71 fewer than they scored in the nine-game 1982 season.

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