One crucial point in the San Diego Chargers’ loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday was an offensive pass interference call on Keenan Allen in the second quarter that wiped out Eddie Royal’s would-be sixth touchdown grab of the season. However, instead a manageable 1st-and-goal from the Tennessee 15-yard line, Philip Rivers ran his mouth with the officials and was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that backed his team up all the way to the 30. Instead of a touchdown that would’ve given the Bolts a 14-3 lead, San Diego would settle for a field goal, which was critical in the Chargers’ 20-17 loss.
Of course the Chargers weren’t guaranteed to punch it into the endzone if it weren’t for the additional 15-yard dead-ball penalty, but there’s no question Rivers’ conduct hurt his team when they could’ve really taken control of the game with a touchdown. The combined 25-yard loss on the play was just one of the missed many opportunities of the game.
Rivers acted similarly against the Houston Texans when the officials initially threw a flag for possible offensive pass interference against Malcom Floyd on an Eddie Royal touchdown. The officials eventually picked up the flag but not after Rivers voiced his opinion to the refs. But it’s not like the his voice really changed the minds of the officials.
Rivers has regained his swagger and confidence – exactly what you want to see if you’re a Chargers fan – but he needs to understand when it can help and hurt his team. In Week 2, Rivers got into the face of 300-pound defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, showing that he won’t back down from anyone. That kind of swagger is what his teammates love about him. But he can’t lose his cool with the officials or else more 15-yard, drive-stalling penalties will be on their way.
If Rivers is going to continue to talk (which he will), he better save it for the defense, not the officials.