First things first – Philip Rivers was as ticked off as anyone after dropping the season opener to the Kansas City Chiefs.
But number 17 knows as well as anyone how the NFL is a marathon, not a sprint.
Actually, the Bolts’ quarterback compared the season to the world’s premier cycling event
“I’m not much of a cycling fan, but I compare the NFL season to the Tour de France,” Rivers said. “It’s all the stages, and that’s what the NFL season is to me. There are 16 stages you get. You make sure you better win your fair share of them. It’s a long deal. We’re down. We’re down after the first phase and we have a chance in Buffalo to go get a win and go 1-1.”
To that end, Rivers saw enough out of the Chargers to know they are well equipped to come out ahead when the marathon is over.
After all, the Chargers had a league-high 541 yards of offense. Rivers threw for the sixth-most yards in a single game in his career, completing 34 of 51 attempts for 424 yards and three touchdowns.
Unfortunately, too many self-inflicted mistakes prevented the Bolts from putting enough points on the board. If not for those miscues, Philip Rivers thinks a day in which the Bolts had a league-high 541 total yards of offense could have been even better.
“I’m sure fired up about this year because there’s not going to be many times you can miss four touchdowns and turn the ball over down (in) the red zone, drop a punt inside the 10, get a 91-yard punt return on you and really, all that said, it should have been a three-point game with three timeouts left with a minute to play. We’re going to be just fine.”
In the passing game, the Bolts had four players with at least 80 yards receiving, including two with over 100. Keenan Allen hauled in eight passes for 108 yards while Melvin Gordon had nine receptions for 102 yards. Meanwhile, Austin Ekeler caught all five passes thrown his way for 87 yards while Mike Williams had five receptions, all in the fourth quarter, good for 81 yards.
Overall, Rivers threw for 424 yards, which was the sixth-most in his career as he passed the 400-yard plateau for the 10th time in his career. However, he thinks he could have had so much more.
“Today, we should have thrown for 600, which is crazy to say,” Rivers said. “We should have thrown for 600 yards in an NFL game. We just didn’t get it done. … We did do some self-inflicting things. It’s hard to get guys wide open, and when you mess up like I did a few (or) when you drop a few like I know our guys will tell you. I think that’s what makes me love this group; that we can all stand and look at each other and say who should have made what play and who shouldn’t have. That’s good.”
Meanwhile, Rivers was pumped by the way the Bolts pounded the rock.
In addition to his career day as a receiver, in which he went over 100-yards receiving for the first time in his career while tying a career-high with nine catches, Gordon led the way on the ground with 15 carries for 64 yards (4.3 ypc). Meanwhile, Ekeler was strong toting the rock as well, carrying it five times for 49 yards (7.9 ypc). Overall, the Bolts churned out 123 yards on 22 attempts, good for a 5.6 yards per carry average.
“The guys ran the ball like crazy up front,” Rivers noted. “The running game was awesome. The guys up front did a great job, and I thought Melvin and Austin ran hard. They’re two guys who are hard to tackle, and they complement each other very well.”
Thus, while disappointed to start the season 0-1, Rivers saw plenty to know this team can still accomplish all their goals.
“We still have to go do it, but there are so many good things that we did today, other than score, which is most important, that gives me all the confidence in the world that this could be an awesome season.”