Philip Rivers and the Bolts: It May Come Down to One More Comeback Win

Alan LupianiCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 11:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Hands down, Philip Rivers has become an elite NFL quarterback.
Just take at look at these individual statistics from last season:
TDs/Ints: 34 -11
Completion percentage: 65.3
Overall QB rating: 105.5

And to Philips' credit, he helped bring back the underachieving Chargers from the dead last season to get them into the playoffs, finishing at 8-8. 
However, the gnawing question remains, "Can Philip lead this team and be a consistent winner, especially at playoff time?" 
Let's put it this way, two-time Super Bowl winning QB, Ben Roethlisberger already has 19 comeback victories to his credit, whereas Rivers, drafted the same year as Big Ben, has been credited with only eight comebacks.
Granted Rivers did not start until his third season, his eight comeback victories still lag behind quarterback greats John Elway with 47, Brett Favre with 42, Marino and Peyton Manning each had 37. And look at this, Drew Bledsoe's had 32 comebacks to his credit.
One more to knock the point home, four time Super Bowl champ Joe Montana tallied 31 comeback victories in his career.
*It should be noted that comeback statistics are highly disputed. Some statisticians have Elway's comeback total as low as 34 and Big Ben's as low as 15.
Furthermore, for those who think it's unfair to compare comebacks because Big Ben has started two more seasons than Rivers, let's break it down by comebacks per season.
Roethlisberger averages 3.8 comebacks per year where Rivers has averaged 2.7 comebacks.

This might not seem like a noticeable difference to some, however, in today's NFL, parity reigns king, and the difference of a win or two due to comeback can make the difference between going to the playoffs, winning in the playoffs, and ultimately giving your team a chance to win the Super Bowl. 
Now I am not saying the Rivers will not/cannot belong to this elite group!
He's right at the doorstep.
I am merely trying to point out that he may need to raise his level of play one more notch to achieve his ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.
Furthermore, based on my observations watching the Chargers play last year, many of their games had all the drama of a developing hostage situation, and the Bolts weren't the ones saving anybody, if you know what I mean. 
The trick for Rivers this year will be his ability to reach back just a bit more and to dig down a little deeper at crunch time.
If he can accomplish this, then Philip Rivers will become the steely eyed sharpshooting marksman who can lead the Chargers all the way to Miami and beyond. 

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