Philip Rivers led the NFL with 4,710 passing yards during the 2010 season. In this same season, Rivers led the NFL in passing yards per attempt, was second in quarterback rating, third in completion percentage and fifth in touchdown passes with 30 while only throwing 13 interceptions. Vincent Jackson appeared in five games that season catching 14 passes for 248 yards and three TDs. Jackson was much more productive in 16 games played for the San Diego Chargers in 2011 as he caught 60 passes for 1,106 yards and nine TDs. Jackson averaged 50 receiving yards per game in 2010 and 69 in 2011.
Rivers struggled in the first 11 games of the 2011 season as he threw 16 TDs and 17 INTs. Jackson was very productive during this time as he caught 44 passes for 825 yards and seven TDs. The inability of the offensive line to protect Rivers explains his results, but after San Diego acquired Jared Gaither from the Kansas City Chiefs, Rivers was only sacked two times in five games while throwing 11 TDs and three INTs. During this same time frame, Jackson caught 16 passes for 281 yards and two TDs. Jackson went from averaging four receptions, 75 yards and 0.6 TDs per game in the first 11 to three receptions, 56 yards and 0.4 TDs per game in the last five.
Antonio Gates missed six games during the 2010 season, so Rivers was missing his best options for 17 games when he led the NFL in passing yards. Jackson is still a weapon that Rivers as well as Chargers fans would gladly take had he not gone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Rivers does not need Jackson to play great.