The thing about Philip Rivers is he never quits. That goes for his teammates, who’ve…wait a second.
“Our previous teams have been through a lot of adversity but there is not many of those guys here,” Rivers said.
The Chargers roared back for a 33-28 opening-day victory over the Lions on Sunday. If this was the first act of the team’ last season in San Diego, we love the dramatics.
San Diego spit out a 21-3 deficit like a shot of cheap tequila. With Rivers at the controls and Keenan Allen channeling Kellen Winslow, this game was a hoot.
But it came with some players with eyes as wide as owls. This isn’t your grandfather’s Chargers — heck, it’s not even your dad’s.
That’s what makes Sunday’s triumph so special. Some wins have more significance than others, and we get that only a 1 is plopped under the locals’ win column.
Then again, for some of the newbies and fresh faces, the win is an eye-opener.
“It was good we can go through this adversity early on with the young guys and the guys we signed in free agency,” Rivers said. “We can experience it together and it becomes real, what we talk about all the time, about fighting together, sticking together and being tough.”
Rivers is Ford tough and not just because he drives one of its pickups. He completed 35 of 42 passes for 404 yards and two scores.
Yep, there were the two interceptions, but that only made the Rivers-fueled rally more stunning as he threw for 400 yards for the seventh time in his career.
It’s a career that has more yesterdays than tomorrows, even if he recently signed an extension running through 2019.
The crime is Rivers has but one playoff win in six seasons. The cure is winning late games and maybe this September song carries a tune later this year.
“When you do it early, and when we are in December and we are in one of these, it doesn’t mean your going to win,” said Rivers, after tying Dan Fouts’ team mark of 254 touchdown passes. “But you’ll know what it felt like and how we did it.”
Rivers pulled this rabbit from the hat by putting Allen in the Chargers’ record book. Allen caught 15 passes and we’re still shaking our eyes, too. Allen was punching the clock and any Lion in his area in tying Winslow’s 1984 standard.
“When you have fun like we did today, it didn’t feel like a job.” Allen said.
It feels groovy watching Rivers, who wears his emotions on his sleeve while jabbering the whole time. He doesn’t throw his bunch to a win as much as he talks it into it.
“We are going to fight to the end of the game,” Rivers said. “That is kind of the mantra today when we dug the hole: Just keep fighting.
“No one thought about panicking and we were able to get it done. It was a great team win. A trait of our team over the last decade has always been that we are going to fight.”
It’s been 10-plus years of Rivers doing his thing. And we just hope the Los Angeles folks enjoy it as much as we do.
After this year, the Rivers Show might find a different marquee. But first is maybe that last year and it got off to a Hollywood start.
“It counts one of 16 but I think it can build some..you know how we talk about the personality of the team, what the makeup is going to be?” Rivers asked. “And I think it is still building because of the new guys.
“But wins like this tends to ascend it in a hurry. Just that camaraderie. You come closer together when you have to fight and win a game like this. You get out here and it becomes real and you know the final score is going to count.”
It’s a joy counting on Rivers. Hopefully it’s not the countdown of his final season in San Diego.