Don’t look now, but Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers turned in a masterful performance in the second half of Thursday’s game against the Chiefs — potentially swinging the balance of power in the NFC West.
The Chiefs had a 28-14 lead with five minutes remaining in the game — at home, no less — and it looked as if they had a hammerlock on the game, which would’ve resulted in them winning the division title.
But Rivers — who is often underrated by fans and analysts, despite his propensity to read opposing defenses, throw into tight windows and make game-winning throws — had other plans.
Rivers led his team on two touchdowns drives in a span of less than four minutes, making some ridiculous throws during that span. And with him spewing hot lava, the Chargers elected to go for the win via a two-point conversion with four seconds remaining, with Rivers finding Mike Williams in the corner of the end zone to cap off the improbable comeback.
And in beating the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, he likely surpassed the 23-year-old quarterback in the MVP race. We call that the double-whammy.
Mahomes was the clear favorite to win the award, and had he won the game/division title, he likely would’ve remained in that position. But he didn’t, and here comes Rivers, along with Drew Brees in the mix.
Let’s take a look at their stats.
Brees: 75.7% completion percentage, 31 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 3,463 yards
Rivers: 69.4% completion percentage, 31 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 3,951 yards
Mahomes: 67.1% completion percentage, 45 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 4,543 yards
Brees’ completion percentage is otherworldly, but he’s surrounded with weapons, such as Michael Thomas — who catches everything in his vicinity. Rivers’ percentage is not too shabby, either, and he’s shown he can win without weapons — as he did on Thursday night, lacking both Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen — which made the comeback effort even more impressive. He, like LeBron James, has shown the ability to make everyone around him better, even if they’re not stars or Pro Bowlers.
A scenario in which Rivers could win the MVP Award:
The Chargers defeat the Ravens in Week 16 (in a game you can get betting advice for here), while the Chiefs lose to the Seahawks, giving Los Angeles the inside track to win the AFC West. As for the Saints, don’t be surprised if they lose one of two games to the Panthers — a division rival that always plays them close — or possibly to the Steelers as well, a team that is essentially in a must-win spot every week.
Rivers has never been named league MVP, although he’s won the Comeback Player of the Year award. He’s got a great chance in finally winning it, and at 37 years of age, what an achievement it’d be.