Coming into the season, quarterback Philip Rivers was as good as buried by many pundits throughout the NFL for his lackluster play in recent seasons. While Rivers’ prolific performances in the mid to late 2000s will be difficult to ever surpass, the signal caller is doing his best to prove the critics wrong this season with the San Diego Chargers.
That onslaught from the veteran under center continued in Week 4 when the Bolts welcomed the Dallas Cowboys to Qualcomm Stadium. Rivers’ ridiculous stat line from the game read 35-of-42 for 401 yards and three touchdowns. This continues the trend of on again, off again performances from Rivers who has backed up sub 200-yard games with 400-plus yard performances on two separate occasions already this season.
But the main reason for the quarterback’s success to this point is easy to find – or not depending on your perspective. The 5-foot-8 200-pound Danny Woodhead has revitalized Rivers this season. What the San Diego offense has been missing since the departure of Darren Sproles is a pint-sized threat to go the distance on every play, and that is what the Bolts have regained in the diminutive Woodhead.
It should not come as a surprise that Rivers’ impressive outings this season have coincided with successful showings from Woodhead. That was certainly the case in Week 4 as the versatile threat put up five carries for 32 yards along with five catches for 54 yards and his first two touchdowns as a member of the Chargers. His role in this offense should only continue to expand if the team wants to ride this wave of momentum and continue to see improvement out of Rivers at the quarterback position. Having that safety net in Woodhead is extremely valuable for a team with a beaten up offensive line like the Bolts have currently.
While Woodhead’s 19 carries for 90 yards through four games may not seem like much, his 4.7 yards per carry average is by far the highest among the team’s running backs. Obviously his workload has been much lighter than that of fellow backfield mate Ryan Mathews, but Woodhead has contributed far more through the air than Mathews has. There is definitely a give and a take to the small dynamo’s game, but there is no doubt his presence has revitalized Rivers.
At 2-2 on the season, the Chargers can’t be all that upset with their position. It’s easy to look at their choke job in Week 1 and blown lead in Week 3 and say this team could be 4-0, but it’s just as possible to imagine this club losing their Week 2 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles that came down to the final whistle. If Rivers can continue to rebuild his image as a member of the quarterbacking elite in the NFL, there’s no doubt this Chargers team is headed in the right direction.