SAN DIEGO –
The Chargers would need more wins to thrust Rivers into the NFL MVP discussion. But if you polled San Diego’s locker room, coaches and supporters, he’d get more than a few votes.
“My wife told me she thought he was the MVP to this point,” Head Coach Norv Turner smiled. “She also heard (an analyst) say he was a candidate for MVP. But none of that matters.”
Rivers has thrown for 2,944 yards, completed 65.3 percent of his passes and thrown for 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. That puts him on target for a third consecutive season with more than 4,000 passing yards and a triple-digit passer rating.
The stat that does matter to Rivers is also the one preventing his name from resting near the top of midseason MVP rankings: the Chargers’ 4-5 record.
“I know (MVP rankings) don’t matter to Philip and they really don’t matter to me,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “The thing that matters to me is you get a guy that’s playing at (his) level and doing it on a weekly basis.
“There’s certain things you could pick holes at in terms of his nine games, but when you’re asked to be the guy almost all the time throughout an extended period it’s not all going to be perfect. But he’s had some unbelievable plays that have given us a chance to win.”
Part of his value is defined by the fact that he’s completed a pass to 14 different players. Five of those have topped 100 yards receiving in a game. The exclamation point to Rivers’ season thus far came in back-to-back wins against the Titans and Texans. With
Crayton, acquired in a trade with Dallas the week before the season, began the year as San Diego’s No. 4 option. Ajirotutu and Banks played their first NFL games a couple weeks ago.
So what did Rivers do? He set his all-time record for completion percentage (73.9) at Houston, threw for a combined six touchdowns against two interceptions, plopped 600 more passing yards to his total and secured two wins with the pressure mounting.
“I’ve been with some guys that wouldn’t be handling this situation the way he’s handled it,” Turner said. “There’s some guys that play that position that would have a tough time when they’re down to their seventh or eighth receiver. All he does is make it work.”
Turner coached Troy Aikman as offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Asked to compare Rivers to great quarterbacks, Turner also mentioned Dan Fouts and called all three “awfully, awfully good.”
“To me it’s all about production,” Turner said. “Every guy’s in their own system and has different opportunities, but I can’t imagine anyone being more productive than Philip has been right now.”
The league named Rivers its AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. Then he had one of the best games of his career to start November.
Said Rivers: “I try not to pay much attention to it either way because it’s about us winning games. I just want to help us win.
“Much like when people asked about the yardage at the halfway point, it takes every guy out there to be able to throw completions, throw touchdowns and move the football.”
CHARGERS UP FOR AWARDS: Rivers is one of three NFL players vying for the FedEx Air Player of the Week.
The three finalists for Week 9 are Rivers, Brett Favre and Eli Manning.
Rivers, who completed 17-of-23 passes for 295 yards, four touchdowns and one interception against the Texans, also was a finalist for the award after a 41-10 win against Arizona on Oct. 3.
Receiver Seyi Ajirotutu is one of five candidates for the Week 9 Pepsi Rookie of the Week.
Ajirotutu, who caught four passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 9 win at Houston, is up against Kansas City safety Eric Berry, Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy, Tampa Bay receiver Mike Williams and Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford.
TICKET UPDATE: About 4,000 general seats remain unsold for both the Nov. 22 game vs. Denver on Monday Night Football and the Dec. 5 game vs. Oakland.
About 1,000 Club seats remain available for the Broncos game and 1,700 for the Raiders game.PRACTICE WEATHER: Sunny, 67 degrees.