Philip Rivers continues his Mr. December campaign with another win in the last month of the year. What is it about December? Is it the cold, brisk California sun? Do the San Diego Chargers have a Mariano Rivera, closer-like mentality?
Rivers is now 29-7 in December. Think about that statistic. His December record comes under three different head coaches (Marty Schottenheimer, Norv Turner and Mike McCoy). Tom Brady has a god-like December record too posting a 43-7 record, but that’s under one coach — Bill Belichick.
This Chargers team is overcoming mental mistakes, gelling at the right time to win these games.
Though Rivers might have a closer mentality, it could be a mixture of a soft back-end of their schedule and the team peaking perfectly. No one can deny the talents of the Chargers playoff squads from 2006-09, but facing under performing like the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants does factor into that streak.
Ryan Mathews is also a big part of their game plan as he posted another great rushing effort with 99 yards on 25 carries, including a seven-yard touchdown run. Ken Wisenhunt and McCoy did their best to recreate Martyball as the Chargers ran 37 rushing plays to wear out the Raiders’ defense. Mathews did leave the game early to return, if he is injured it will affect the offense going forward.
Uh oh. Playoff talk again?
This week, by the time the Chargers ended their game, the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins both lost creating a frantic finish to the season. Baltimore and Miami losing their games are very high on McCoy and Rivers’ Christmas list. Both games for Baltimore and Miami are division games and of course, those can get as ugly as the game played today.
Next week, the Chargers will know by kick-off if their playing in January. By then, everyone will know if this team is going to break hearts.