Rivers has started in all of San Diego’s games including a playoff game during the 2007 season when he played with a torn ACL against the New England Patriots.
Rivers’ current streak of 106 consecutive starts including the playoffs ranks second among active quarterbacks behind New York Giants QB Eli Manning.
San Diego has been fortunate to have such a workhorse who has a 68-38 record in his career. Rivers and Drew Brees are the only quarterbacks who threw for at least 4,000 yards from 2008-2011. Rivers averaged 30 touchdown passes per season during this time.
San Diego brought in Charlie Whitehurst to be the team’s primary backup this season. In four career starts, Whitehurst has a 1-3 record with three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Whitehurst was not good enough to start over Tarvaris Jackson last season who had a 10-10 record with 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in his career.
There have been instances in which teams were successful without their guys. Tom Brady won the MVP award in 2007 and missed 15 games in 2008 when New England was 10-5 without him.
The Houston Texans made the playoffs last season despite their starting QB going out for the last six games of the regular season, their four time All-Pro wide receiver missed nine games and their two time All-Pro linebacker missed 11 games.
Randy Moss was tied for third in the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions in 2008 for New England while Houston was third in fewest yards allowed per play on defense. Houston also had Arian Foster who was second in the NFL with 94 rushing yards per game.
I do not think that San Diego is built to have success without Rivers because while the defense is improved so far, 2011 Pro Bowl RB Ryan Mathews is injury prone and Antonio Gates has been the last two seasons.
San Diego is 5-3 without Mathews since he was drafted in 2010 while they are 9-1 without Gates since the 2009 season ended.
Rivers, Mathews and Gates are arguably the three best players on San Diego’s roster. I would hate to see what would happen to the Chargers without Rivers.