Is Phillip Rivers Officially a Problem for the San Diego Chargers?

Nick KostoraContributor IIIOctober 16, 2012

October 15, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) calls plays at the line during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

The San Diego Chargers implosion against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football was just the latest example of Philip Rivers' ineptitude when it comes to winning big games.

Rivers consistently, and often times brashly, finds ways to lose football games that the Chargers should likely win. Against the Broncos, after looking like an elite QB in the first half and leading San Diego to a 24-0 lead, Rivers fell apart in the second half, throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter.

The problem is that this is not an isolated incident, Rivers has faltered before. His interception totals have risen in each of the past three seasons, from nine in 2009 to 13 in 2010 and all the way to 20 last season.

Yes, the Chargers signal-caller has been in the NFL since 2004 and yet he seems to be regressing. San Diego has a defense more than capable of playing for a Super Bowl. They allow just 74 rushing yards per game, have six interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The special teams woes of seasons past have diminished to a point where they are all but forgotten. All that is left is the continued struggles of Rivers.

For every bullet Rivers fires to Antonio Gates for a touchdown, there is a head-scratching interception by Broncos DB Chris Harris that goes back 46 yards for six points.

San Diego had a chance on MNF to assert themselves as the top team in the AFC West.

The Chargers had a chance to extinguish all the talk of Peyton Manning leading the Broncos to the top of the division heap. For two quarters, they did just that with an exclamation point. 

But then Rivers fell apart in a way that only he can.

Fans and coaches can put up with his brash personality and aggressive tendencies when he is winning games and elevating the play of the Chargers offense. It just seems like he has struggled far too often over the past two seasons.

His decision making has gone from good to decent to downright awful. Rivers forces throws into windows that are often closed and tries to make plays that are not even there.

San Diego is not a perfect team. 

The Ryan Mathews-led rushing attack has failed to take off in the way the team had hoped and the defense is allowing upwards of 260 yards per game.

However, the Chargers have enough quality pieces to be an elite player in the AFC and a real contender for the Lombardi Trophy.

Rivers just refuses to take them to the mountaintop.