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Rivers to make first playoff start

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/sports/16434015.htm">Associated Press</a>

    <img width="332" height="221" title="Philip Rivers eggs on the crowd after throwing a TD pass to Vincent Jackson to go ahead 28-27." alt="Philip Rivers eggs on the crowd after throwing a TD pass to Vincent Jackson to go ahead 28-27." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061119broncos/SMHchargers260208x0017.jpg" />

    By Bernie Wilson

    SAN DIEGO - Philip Rivers would love to be just like Tom Brady.

    Seriously, who wouldn't want to win a Super Bowl in his first season as a starting quarterback, then add on a couple more? That's what Brady did in compiling his gaudy 11-1 postseason record.

    For Rivers to follow that path, he and his San Diego Chargers will have to beat the playoff-seasoned New England Patriots on Sunday in a divisional-round game at Qualcomm Stadium.

    "Obviously I understand it, as all quarterbacks do, that you have a won-loss record attached to your name," Rivers said Wednesday. "I don't want to do it for me. I want to do it for us."

    This has been a season of firsts for Rivers, and he gets another on Sunday - the first playoff start in his three-year career. It's something he's been aiming for since the Chargers pulled off a draft-day coup in 2004 and acquired him and a handful of draft picks from the New York Giants for Eli Manning.

    "This is why you play," said Rivers, who was elevated to starter in March after Drew Brees signed with New Orleans as a free agent.

    Rivers was the inactive third-string quarterback two years ago when the Chargers lost at home in overtime to the New York Jets in a wild-card game.

    Rivers remembers how wired the Chargers were that night.

    "We were so fired up it maybe worked against us," he said. "We need to just come out poised and under control, kinda see what's happening to us, obviously expecting a wrinkle or two and then playing from there."

    That might be easier said than done, but Rivers is the son of a coach and has done a good job of keeping everything in perspective this year.

    He was a bit amped up on Monday after the Chargers found out who they were playing, but his teammates think he'll be OK on Sunday.

    "I'm expecting Philip to come out and have one of the best games of his career," tight end Antonio Gates said. "Obviously that's the focus point. It's on Philip Rivers and can he get the job done. Everybody in the locker room believes that, 'Hey, this is our guy. He can lead us to a world championship.' "

    Rivers has faced pretty much every scenario possible this season in leading the Chargers to an NFL-best 14-2 record and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. He's led wild rallies and helped secure comfortable leads. He's struggled and shined. He's taken a couple of tough losses on the road.

    He was voted to the Pro Bowl, although he had a rough December.

    Even when he struggled, though, he managed to do OK.

    In the season finale against Arizona, he sprained his right foot, then came back and threw two touchdown passes in a 27-20 win. Some of the passes he threw after getting hurt were as crisp as any he'd thrown this season.

    "I'll be the first to admit I wasn't as efficient late in the year in some games," he said. "I think some of those bumps in the road late in the year were good for many reasons - one, I'm continuing to get better, and two, we didn't lose. I think I can gain a lot from some of those somewhat struggles and carry them with me now into the playoffs."

    Rivers said his foot's fine.

    "I said it 30 minutes after the game that it wouldn't be an issue and it won't be. I've been getting a ton of treatment the past week and I'm good to go."

    While Rivers put up some impressive numbers this season - 3,388 yards, 22 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions, a 92.0 passer rating - he was certainly helped along by LaDainian Tomlinson's epic performance.

    Tomlinson was the landslide league MVP winner after setting single-season record with 31 touchdowns and 186 points, and winning the rushing title with 1,815 yards.

    So the thought that the Patriots might try to focus on Tomlinson and make Rivers beat them is hardly a novel one.

    "I would imagine that was the game plan of all 16 opponents," Rivers said. "That doesn't surprise me one bit. At the same time, I don't know how many of those 16 took L.T. away."

    Rivers is an excitable sort, but said he won't try to do too much on Sunday.

    "Again, I don't have to do anything spectacular," he said.

    He would like to start catching up with Brady.

    "But hey, you gotta start somewhere. You can't play 13 playoff games if you don't play the first one."

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