Philip Rivers the Only Reason San Diego Chargers Remain Viable AFC Wild Card Contender

Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers have come up on the short end of a comeback victory time after time already this season. Sunday on the road at Arrowhead Stadium seemed destined to be yet another replay of close calls gone wrong in the recent past, but something happened on that field against the Kansas City Chiefs that hasn’t occurred for the Bolts with regularity this season – the team held onto a late lead.

There were an awful lot of positives to draw on from the Chargers’ performance on Sunday. From Danny Woodhead continuing to prove his immense value to Keenan Allen’s amazing progression into a No. 1 receiver, this team has many reasons to be thankful heading into Turkey Day.

But beyond the numbers and X’s and O’s were the prevailing thoughts that these Chargers would just find a different way to break fans’ hearts once again in this contest. The team came up short in a late-game push last week against the Miami Dolphins, lost in a valiant effort against the Denver Broncos the week before that, and laid an egg at the one-yard line the week prior to that at the Washington Redskins. So this game was more about proving to themselves that they could win a game late than proving that fact to the critics for the Chargers.

And the credit has to go to quarterback Philip Rivers.

This has been a season of ups and downs already for the embattled San Diego signal caller, but he has shown the resolve of a true competitor on so many occasions this season. No matter the down and distance, Rivers is always ready to march his team into position to get a victory. His 392 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-39 passing with zero turnovers were absolutely vital to the Bolts getting a win on Sunday.

From his meltdown in Week 1 against the Houston Texans to the recent three-game losing skid laid out above, Rivers has faced some undue scrutiny already this season. Without him this San Diego team would be vying for the top pick in the upcoming draft instead of now being part of a five-way tie for the sixth and final AFC wild card spot.

Winning over Kansas City is a huge boost to the cause for the Bolts as they attempt to turn their postseason dreams into reality. The victory improves the Chargers’ conference record and also gives them control of the head-to-head tiebreaker should the Chiefs’ current tailspin continue. The playoffs may remain a long shot, but the only reason they are even a part of the conversation in San Diego is because of the man under center.

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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