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Rivers rallies Chargers but Delhomme trumps him

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    The best pass he threw all afternoon – heck, maybe the best pass he'll throw all season – was delivered on the run. To his left. Leg brace, surgical scars and all.
    Those are the kind of details that tend to get magnified and glorified when a quarterback has had one of those epic games, the kind of dramatic comeback that people normally will recall years later as a career highlight, the kind of game quarterback Philip Rivers produced Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. And still the Chargers lost.
    Were it not for the other guy – Jake Delhomme, the Carolina Panthers veteran quarterback who threw one final pass to beat the Chargers after time expired – Rivers would be able to float back to Denver next weekend on a cloud. All the talk about him and the Broncos, about him and Jay Cutler, about that other nonfootball nonsense, would go down easier if not for those last two seconds.
    Rivers' crime might have been that he was too good, too efficient, leaving the resourceful Delhomme too much time to finish off his classic comeback.
    “You hope you don't leave 'em enough time, but you can't not score,” Rivers said. “With a little more than two minutes, you'd like to think that's long enough, and it usually is.”
    Rivers threw two touchdown passes in a span of four minutes and 22 seconds, the first a 24-yard beauty to tight end Antonio Gates, which Rivers referred to as “one of those plays you dream about and do in the backyard.”
    If anything, it should put to rest what few questions remained about the remnants of last season's knee injury. Out of necessity, he had to be extremely mobile against Carolina's relentless rush, and the pass to Gates was thrown on the run and on a dime.
    “I feel really good moving around,” said Rivers, chased all over the place by the Panthers, but sacked just once. “'Fast'” isn't a word I would use, but I do feel ... (smile) ... aw, 'explosive' isn't the word, either. But I do feel good running around.”
    His second TD pass of the fourth quarter – and third of the game, tying a career high – was a 5-yard strike to wide receiver Vincent Jackson that put the Chargers ahead 24-19 with 2:27 to play.
    “He's such a great competitor,” head coach Norv Turner said. “When it went down to nine(-point deficit), I thought, 'Hell, we'll go down and score twice and go win the game.' He made some great plays in those two drives.”
    When it was over, Rivers had 17 completions on 27 attempts. The way the game ended, Rivers customarily would want to immediately start thinking ahead to the next game, which happens to be at Denver.
    Of all the places in the NFL, the Mile High City is the one laying in wait for Rivers. For starters, San Diego has won four straight against Denver, including scores of 41-3 and 23-3 last season.
    “They'll be rowdy,” Rivers said. “Shoot, that's what you expect.”
    When the Chargers and Broncos left off, it was Christmas Eve at Qualcomm Stadium, and that wasn't holiday cheer being passed between the two teams. In particular, the invective flew between Denver quarterback Jay Cutler and Rivers, the latter of whom had ticked off fans at Invesco Field with some good-natured yapping the year before.
    This time, the Broncos thought Rivers was taunting Cutler from the sideline after the latter threw an incomplete pass.
    “I was saying 'Attababy, attababy!' to our guys, over and over,” Rivers said Sunday. “It was all directed at our guys. It was a big third-down stop. I'll be the first to admit, it didn't come across real good on TV. ... But it's Sept. 7 and that was December and there's a lot of things that go on on a football field that are a lot worse.”
    Rivers knows it won't end there, though. As soon as the Broncos are past Monday night's game against the Oakland Raiders, they'll be asked incessantly about Rivers, too.
    “I don't want to get into a war of words, this week, I really don't,” Rivers said. “I'm not going to do that. First of all, I think a lot of Jay as a quarterback. He's a heck of a player. I don't have any animosity against Jay.”

    By Chris Jenkins

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