Eric D. WilliamsESPN Staff WriterClose
- Covered Seahawks for Tacoma News Tribune for six seasons.
- Played college football at University of Puget Sound
However, through 11 games, Rivers hasn’t found the magic elixir.
“It’s a football game,” he said. “If you could just pick and choose and never throw them ever, I’d choose to throw zero. So I certainly don’t want to throw them, but I know it’s hurting us right now. So obviously I need to cut them out.”
Rivers finished with four interceptions in a 24-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, including a dagger on the final offensive play for the Chargers, on which he underthrew Austin Ekeler in the end zone, with the ball falling into the hands of Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen.
Rivers threw three interceptions last week in a loss to the Oakland Raiders, becoming the first Chargers quarterback since Erik Kramer in 1999 to throw at least three interceptions in consecutive games.
Rivers has 14 interceptions on the season and 16 turnovers total, the most he has had in a season since 2016.
A priority for Chargers coach Anthony Lynn when he took over in 2017 was curbing turnovers. Rivers did a better job the first two years under Lynn but has regressed this season.
“Philip just has to execute better, as far as turnovers,” Lynn said. “Now, when you look at his turnovers, it’s not always on the quarterback. I mean, sometimes the quarterback is getting hit late, or sometimes a receiver may slip down, so you can’t put all of those turnovers on Philip.
“But his turnovers are a little higher than I would like. He knows that. And we have to get better in that area — period.”
A team that expected to be in the conversation for a Super Bowl run at the start of the season, the Chargers fell to 4-7 and out of playoff contention with the loss Monday.
All seven of the Chargers losses’ this season have been by seven or fewer points. The Chargers are the first team since the 2005 Packers to lose seven games by seven or few points in the first 11 games of the season.
That’s tied for the most such losses in a team’s first 11 games in the Super Bowl era.
Rivers has lost 61 games by seven or fewer points as a starting quarterback, the most such losses in the Super Bowl era. The next on the list is Vinny Testaverde with 59.
Rivers turns 38 in December and is in the final year of his deal. However, Lynn isn’t ready to turn his attention to 2020.
“I don’t have that luxury to think about Philip and the future and his contract,” Lynn said. “My focus is on preparing for the next game and the Denver Broncos. At the end of the season, that will take care of itself. But right now, we’re just trying to finish the season on a positive note.”
Like Lynn, Rivers isn’t ready to give up on the season as the Chargers head into their bye week.
“The only way I know is to fight, and we’ll just keep fighting,” Rivers said. “You sign up for them all, regardless of what your record is. We’ve been in this spot before, and you just keep playing. You never know what can happen, but whether that happens or not, you just keep fighting.
“That’s the beauty of this game. Believe me, while it hurts like crazy, we know that we’re all playing as a team and what our goals are. This game is way more than between the lines. It’s the things you learn, the toughness and all of the things you have to work on help you be a better person, man, husband and father. We’re in one of those spots. I’m certainly in one of those spots. You just keep fighting.”