Philip Rivers’ Turnaround Key to San Diego Chargers Being in Playoff Contention

By Anthony Blake
Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to truly call the season Philip Rivers is having a career resurrection, but it’s also tough to dismiss it as just another season. After the doldrums the San Diego Chargers have gone through over the past few years, especially Rivers himself with his turnover bonanza, 2013 has been a pleasant deviation from recent memory.

There was a time when the man under center for the Bolts was thought of as on the cusp of the so-called “elite” quarterbacks in the NFL. Now Rivers’ stats have never been overwhelming with a career 64.2 percent completion rate, 203 to 98 touchdown to interception ratio, and alarming 67 fumbles, but this season has undoubtedly been his best ever.

It may be a small sample size at this point through just six weeks, but the improvement is undeniable under new head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Rivers is currently completing passes at a ridiculous 72.6 percent clip with 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Where the biggest turnaround has occurred is the zero fumbles to date by Rivers which is an astounding improvement from his career-high of 13 a year ago.

With Norv Turner calling the shots, Rivers was always asked to take deep drops in the pocket and hold onto the ball, waiting for something to develop. McCoy and Whisenhunt have preached quick passes and maximizing the strengths of Rivers in his accuracy and quick release to experience success.

And what makes it all the more baffling is that Rivers was always one of the first players to come to the defense of his former coach when the media firestorm would kick up. While his loyalty to a fault was admirable, it seems clear now that Norv was only holding Rivers back from what he was capable of becoming.

Obviously Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the front-runner for the MVP award at this point and it would take a drastic change of events to alter that standing, but CBS Sports actually has an MVP watch list that includes the San Diego signal caller. It may seem like anyone else is only vying for second place at this point, but there’s no denying the numbers Rivers is putting up. His 14 touchdowns are tied with both Tony Romo and Drew Brees for second in the league and his 1,847 passing yards are third most to this point.

Going from league-wide laughingstock to MVP in just 12 months is a heck of a turnaround for the 31 year old Rivers who is still two Lombardi trophies short of his fellow draft classmates in Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. With this kind of 180, maybe it isn’t that much of a stretch to start thinking about the San Diego signal caller joining the Super Bowl fraternity.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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