Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The San Diego Chargers pulled off one of the bigger upsets of Week 12, knocking off the Kansas City Chiefs 41-38 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Philip Rivers, who has enjoyed a bounce-back season this year, threw for 392 yards in the win. NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter believes Rivers' latest performance only solidifies his renewed status as the franchise quarterback for the Bolts:
Philip Rivers has been the San Diego Chargers quarterback of the future for 10 long years.
After two seasons on the bench, Rivers led the Chargers to the postseason four times in eight seasons as a starter and earned four Pro Bowl nods along the way. Still, he never won that ring—and at age 31 (32 in December), the Chargers’ offseason house-cleaning seemed to cement Rivers as the Chargers’ "Quarterback Until We Draft the Next Guy."
In 2013, though, Rivers has recaptured his old magic under new head coach Mike McCoy. In fact, he seems to have captured new magic.
Coming into the Chargers’ Week 12 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Rivers was completing 70.9 percent of his passes. That’s far above his career average of 64.3 percent or 2010 single-season high of 66.0 percent. He was also throwing for an average of 298.9 yards per game, on pace for a career-high total in passing yardage.
Rivers’ quarterback rating stood at 104.4, tied for second-best behind his 2008 career high of 105.5. With a touchdown rate of 5.3 percent and an interception rate of 2.2 percent, Rivers has only thrown more touchdowns against fewer interceptions once, in 2009.
That was all before Rivers completed 27 of 39 passes (69.2 percent) for 392 yards, three touchdowns and no interception against the second-best scoring defense in football.
When Rivers hit unheralded receiver Seyi Ajirotutu with 24 seconds left on the clock, he completed a touchdown pass to his eighth different receiver this season. More importantly, he and the Chargers completed the eighth, and final, lead change in a 41-38 shootout with the Chiefs.
Not only did the Chargers hand the Chiefs their second loss, but the win kept the Chargers’ postseason hopes alive. Going into the week of Thanksgiving, that’s far longer than anyone expected.
Nobody expected Rivers to mount the best campaign of his career either—but if he keeps playing like he did against the Chiefs, the Chargers won’t be drafting to rebuild this offseason, they’ll be drafting to build around him.