Philip Rivers was blunt in his assessment of Sunday’s pivotal game against the Oakland Raiders.
A win and the Chargers have a chance at a playoff berth. However, getting to 9-7 may not be enough as they also need the Jacksonville Jaguars to beat the Tennessee Titans while either the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Cincinnati Bengals or the Miami Dolphins down the Buffalo Bills.
Like the rest of the team, it goes without saying Rivers laments that the Chargers don’t control their own destiny. At the same time, after an 0-4 start, he is grateful the team has a chance to do something that’s only been done once before in NFL history.
“We have a chance now again,” he said. “We don’t know what happens. We’ve got to take care of our business. But a chance now to do something that’s only been done one other time. Get into the postseason after an 0-4 start. And that ironically was the Chargers (in 1992). So it’s exciting to be in the mix in Week 17. If you would have told us at 0-4, ‘Hey, you all are going to have a chance in Week 17,’ at 0-4 we would have said, ‘Deal. We’ll take that.’ When you’re sitting there at 0-4, you’ve got a long way to go. We’ve at least given ourselves an opportunity.”
While grateful, Rivers and his teammates worked tirelessly to get to this point.
It seemed nearly inconceivable the Bolts would reach the playoffs after the first month of the season. Pundits did the math and said they had a one percent chance of getting in.
Still, the team never wavered, which is a testament to their mental fortitude.
“That’s something Coach (Anthony) Lynn has always talked about,” Rivers said. “He wanted to be a mentally and physically tough team. We wanted that to be one of our traits. I think it starts from the top…. But I think we thought we were mentally tough and could be. I think we’ve proved that thus far. We had a little setback a few weeks ago in Kansas City, but I think we’ve proven that we’ll fight through anything and hang together. That’s given us this chance.”
It’s a chance Rivers thinks has a decent shot at coming through.
However, the one common thread in every scenario requires the Bolts beating the Raiders, which is why the quarterback stressed tuning out what the other teams are doing and focusing on taking care of their own business.
“It seems pretty simple to me,” he explained. “There’s not a whole lot (we need to happen). The one common denominator is us winning. I can’t find one yet where we can lose and still make it. So we’ve got to take care of our business. Obviously, we’re all playing at the same time. We can only control what we can control. We have a chance to win our ninth game — nine of our last 12, which would be a heck of a bounce back after making ourselves that 0-4 hole. I think that’s our focus; just find a way to win one game. Hopefully, it gets us another one. But just focus on preparation for Oakland right now.”