Is Philip Rivers the Next Jake Delhomme?

Dave HoganContributor IINovember 2, 2011

When Rivers scrambles its almost as scary as Halloween
When Rivers scrambles its almost as scary as HalloweenJamie Squire/Getty Images

Is San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers the next Jake Delhomme? Not really.

Delhomme actually got his team to a Super Bowl. Delhomme has a 5-3 record in the playoffs.

And Rivers? His postseason record is 3-4.

What I am hinting at is the rapid decline of an All-Pro Quarterback, around 30 years of age, in a short period of time.

It was not so long ago when Jake Delhomme's nightmare began in a January playoff game against Arizona. He threw five interceptions after the Panthers claimed the NFC South in 2008.

One short year later, during Rivers' last playoff game against the Jets, albeit with fewer turnovers, Rivers and the 13-3 Chargers were one and done just like the Panthers.

From there the two have seemingly taken divergent paths, Rivers managed to throw to a record 17 different receivers in 2010 and had a great season. Jake Delhomme rode off to relative obscurity into Cleveland's dog pound, and is now an unsigned free agent.

But was Rivers' 2010 just an aberration on the way to disaster? Perhaps a prolonged "Delhomming" if you will?

Rivers' reoccurring nightmares have begun in earnest this year. Why should Halloween be any different? Last night he fumbled the game away on a routine snap that would have set the Chargers up for a winning field goal. The miscue was so inexplicable that most football fans cannot recall ever seeing anything like it.

Ryan Mathews fumbles again
Ryan Mathews fumbles againPeter Aiken/Getty Images

Though Rivers has still not has not had a three-interception game in his career (thanks to the Chiefs dropping an easy one last night), this year he has 13 turnovers (11 interceptions and two fumbles lost) to his seven touchdown passes. It is very "Delhommesque."

Delhomme's ill-fated end to his career was really a long time coming. Like his fellow Bayou native Brett Favre, Delhomme was known as gunslinger, yet Delhomme was markedly less talented than Favre.

Rivers' sudden demise is leaving Chargers fans dumbfounded. They want to think everything will be OK. After all, Rivers ranks at or near the top in passer rating and scoring average for a quarterback.

Yet something is terribly amiss with Rivers this year when all Charger fans can think of is statistics. Stats are always a loser's perspective on what should be or what might have been. Stats do not explain how one of the league's most accurate passers over the past few seasons has been performing near the bottom of the league now. 

Unlike Delhomme (who was always at that second tier level and below the "Top Five"), Rivers is considered to be an elite quarterback. Yet in all fairness and given the playoff records—the only thing that truly counts—Delhomme's career stacks up better than Rivers'.

Furthermore, take it from the "Lord of No Rings," Chargers GM AJ Smith: just get in the tournament. Well with Rivers' play thus far, the Chargers will be lucky to finish 7-9.

Chargers fans normally call for head coach Norv Turner's head after a loss like last night. Wouldn't most coaches think about benching a quarterback off to such a terrible start?

Perhaps Chargers fans should be redirecting their vitriol at Norv and begin calling for Rivers to ride the pine. Maybe not with the Packers coming to town, but if this awful quarterback play continues, backup QB Billy Volek has to be considered against Oakland.

Could this be the end of the line for one of the greatest quarterbacks in San Diego history?

Rivers needs to exercise these demons really quickly. Perhaps Delhomme's departure was hastened by some black magic or voodoo. He must have miffed someone in his home state, the Bayou state of Louisiana. What else could explain his arm suddenly flailing and failing?

The name Jake Delhomme should scare the heck out of Rivers. It shows how quickly a good quarterback can fall from grace.

Rivers needs to have a great game against the Packers this Sunday. There are 52 other players who could help make this a successful homecoming and stop the continued "Delhommeing."

Finally, there are worse comparisons than mine. Take last night's comments from the Chargers "homer" radio announcers Josh Lewin and Hank Bauer: They were comparing Rivers to Chargers fans' ultimate nightmare, Ryan Leaf.