It's been over two months since Lakers legend Kobe Bryant spoke with the Los Angeles Chargers on the first day of training camp. His message of adversity, and what is needed to overcome those obstacles, struck a chord with the Bolts.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that Keenan Allen couldn't help but think of that message on a day Philip Rivers rallied L.A. to a stirring come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter.
"Kobe said it best, man," Allen said in the locker room. "You miss a lot of shots, but you keep shooting. You miss some throws, you keep throwing."
Although he entered the game ranked among the NFL's best in completion percentage, number 17 completed only 21 of 44 attempts (47.7-percent). He also threw a costly interception in the end zone early in the second half when it looked like the Bolts would surely add to their one point advantage. Instead, the Giants took over and regained the lead following the pick.
So how did Rivers respond?
By authoring a 12-play, 92-yard drive that that culminated in a 25-yard TD strike to Hunter Henry. In addition to the touchdown, Rivers came through time and time again in the clutch on third down during the drive.
Third-and-nine from his own nine?
Just throw it 12 yards to Antonio Gates.
Third-and-15 from the 15?
A dart to Keenan Allen for 16.
Third-and-6 from the Giants' 43?
Another strike to Allen, this time for 18 yards.
"Vintage Philip," said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. "I mean, he knew he threw a knucklehead pass and he came off (upset). Then in the very next series he threw an unbelievable pass, so that's what the good ones do."
Overall, on the day he passed Fran Tarkenton for 10th all-time in NFL passing yards, Rivers threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns. It also marked the 23rd time he marched the Bolts back in the fourth quarter to pull out a come-from-behind victory.
In essence, he did exactly what Kobe Bryant said the great ones must do when put to the test.
"You throw an interception, you've got to bounce back," he explained. "That's just part of playing quarterback in this league. You just move on. I was sick about it too because we were kind of going pretty good there at that turnover. Felt like we had a little momentum, but you got a stop, and then we kind of gave it right back to them and then they went down and scored. So it was big for us to answer like we did."
That wasn't the only time Rivers answered the call.
With the Bolts trailing by five with 9:05 remaining, he marched the team 48 yards into field goal territory to make it a three point game. After the defense forced a turnover with 3:04 remaining at New York's 11, he found paydirt three players later on a 10-yard TD to Melvin Gordon.
It wasn't Rivers' best day, but he didn't let that stop him from delivering when the game was on the line.
"We had some big-time moments," he said. "I don't remember many games where I've been below 50-percent completion (percentage) and won. So, I'll definitely take the under fifty with a W than over sixty and a loss."