Boosted by win over Titans, Rivers leads Bolts against Colts Print
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Wednesday, 09 January 2008 23:51
NFL Headline News

 SAN DIEGO (AP) -One starting quarterback on Sunday will be leading the defending Super Bowl champions. He was MVP of that game, as well as a two-time NFL MVP earlier this decade.
The other guy? He just got his first playoff win.
Welcome to Philip Rivers' world. He'll lead the San Diego Chargers into Sunday's divisional-round playoff game against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts relishing the underdog role.
It's one thing to throw 292 yards and the go-ahead ahead touchdown in a 17-6 win over the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans.
Now he's going to be compared with Manning, and he's going to be tested by safety Bob Sanders, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
``Barring something crazy, we're going to be the underdogs from here on out as far as that goes,'' Rivers said.
That's fine with Rivers, the Chargers' second-year starter.
``Any team can win it all and any team can get beat as we found out here last year as the one seed. The Colts were in our position last year now as the three seed. Pittsburgh, a couple years ago they were the six seed. I think at this point, why not us? We're going to go with that frame of mind. We're going to go in confident but obviously knowing the challenge that's ahead of us.''
Rivers has never lacked for confidence since coming into the league as the fourth overall pick, and he carried a big load in the wild-card win.
The Titans loaded up against LaDainian Tomlinson and forced Rivers to beat them. He did.
``His confidence is going to be higher,'' Tomlinson said. ``The momentum of going into this playoff game is going to be a big thing for us. We are coming off a fresh win last week. Keeping that momentum of playing football and not taking any time off, that's going to help us.
``Obviously they have the advantage in experience. I certainly don't see Philip being shaken up at all. That's not his style to show any lack of confidence. It's because he's the son of a coach. That goes back to his roots. That's just the way he is. His dad did a great job of just keeping him focused. Even when things aren't going well, he's always been able to keep confident. That's huge for a quarterback.''
It's been an up-and-down season for Rivers. He's played well at times, but he's also struggled. He was booed at home several times during the season by fans whose expectations were sky-high after a 14-2 finish in 2006.
Playing well against the Titans certainly helped, but coach Norv Turner said it wasn't as if Rivers had been doing horribly.
``If I had doubts, or if Philip had doubts or if any of his teammates had doubts then that performance would be good for all of us,'' Turner said. ``I don't have any doubts about Philip and our players don't have any doubts and I know he doesn't have any doubts. He's had parts of games like that throughout the entire year. He's had games like that throughout this year and that wasn't a surprise to me.''
In losing their two previous playoff games, the Chargers weren't able to control their emotions. They did a much better job of that against the Titans.
``I think too, once the ball gets snapped and you get going, it's the same game,'' Rivers said. ``Nothing really changes. I do think we handled the preparation going in. I think from an emotional standpoint we handled that a lot better on Sunday. I think now once you get one under your belt and you see that hey it is a game just like the first 16 were, I think it'll help our approach again this week. We know the task is tough but I think we'll have the right mind-set going in.''
 

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