In Sunday’s game at Jacksonville, San Diego Chargers’ all-everything quarterback Philip Rivers accomplished a pair of milestones to add to a laundry list of other career achievements. Rivers recovered from a dismal showing against the Kansas City Chiefs where he managed a season-low 178 yards through the air and no passing touchdowns in the Chargers’ 33-3 loss. Sunday, Rivers looked and played like the elite quarterback we all know him to be. He threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns in the 31-25 Bolts’ win.
With two touchdown passes going into halftime, Rivers moved into a tie for 13th place with San Francisco 49er legend Joe Montana for career touchdown passes (273). With two more touchdown passes in the second half, Rivers moved into a tie with Vinny Testaverde for 11th place on the all-time touchdown passes list (275). With his next touchdown pass, Rivers will move into sole possession of 11th place, pushing Testaverde into 12th place.
Ironically, sitting in tenth place is a man Rivers is forever tied to in NFL and Chargers lore, class of 2004 draft mate Eli Manning. With 282 scoring passes, Manning is seven touchdowns ahead of Rivers. What makes the accomplishment even more impressive for Rivers is the fact that he’s ready to surpass Manning even though the New York Giants’ QB had a two-year head start; Manning started from day one with the Giants. Rivers sat behind Drew Brees and didn’t start for the Chargers until his third season in the NFL.
Rivers entered the game needing 134 yards to reach the 40,000-yard plateau. In doing so, he became the fourth-fastest to accomplish the feat in NFL history. This season alone, Rivers has surpassed Chargers great Dan Fouts, Sonny Jurgensen, Dave Krieg, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Montana on the all-time touchdown passes list. With five games remaining, he’s on pace to surpass Testaverde (275) and possibly Manning (282). Johnny Unitas (290) and Warren Moon (291) will fall to Rivers early next season, at the latest.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Rivers is an elite quarterback in this league. He is also the most taken for granted of the elite quarterbacks league-wide. The talking heads think there is room to debate whether Rivers is Hall-Of-Fame worthy. The accomplishments listed above should prove that he belongs in Canton, among his other achievements. The NFL and even a segment of Chargers fans don’t appreciate what the 33-year-old has accomplished in lightning bolts. He is a leader, a winner, an inspiration to all around him. Rivers ranks right next to Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers as the most cerebral quarterbacks in the league.
With the four-year extension Rivers signed this past offseason it ensures he will retire a Charger. We should all take the time to appreciate the brilliance this man shows us on a week-in, week-out basis before he’s gone and we all realize how good we had it when a rookie is trying to move the ball down the field for San Diego.
The Greg One