|Chargers QB Rivers struggles with consistency, turnovers|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2007 16:49|
Nine games into the season, Rivers looks nothing like the Pro Bowl quarterback he was last season, his first as starter for the San Diego Chargers.
Rivers has matched his 10 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions. Throw in his five lost fumbles, and he's already committed four more turnovers than he did all last season.
Two of his interceptions and two of his fumbles have been returned for touchdowns. Overall, his turnovers have led to 58 points for the opponents.
Rivers' passer rating of 77.9 is 21st in the NFL. He was booed again Sunday night, when the Chargers escaped with a 23-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts after Adam Vinatieri missed a 29-yard field-goal attempt with 1:31 left.
Even after throwing a career-high six interceptions, Peyton Manning had a better passer rating Sunday night than Rivers, 49.4 to 30.6. Rivers completed only 13 of 24 passes for 104 yards, with two interceptions. He fumbled into the end zone in the fourth quarter, with linebacker Gary Brackett recovering for a TD.
Rivers keeps pointing out that the Chargers are 5-4 and leading the AFC West after winning four of their past five games.
Fans, though, keep wondering why he's so inconsistent.
``There's frustration anytime you don't play the way you want to, but you have to be able to take it in stride and keep getting better and keep working and know that it's keep grinding and working and you'll continue to get through it and that's what I'm going to do,'' he said.
``I haven't lost any sleep or any confidence. Just keep working and playing and I know I can get it done.''
Rivers, who also slumped last December as the Chargers finished off a 14-2 season, said there's nothing wrong physically or with his mechanics.
``It's part of the game and the quarterbacks that don't allow it to creep in those situations and make those types of mistakes are the ones that are playing consistent and the ones that aren't doing it aren't,'' Rivers said Wednesday, when the Chargers started preparing for Sunday's game at Jacksonville. ``I don't think it's anything more than that. You keep practicing and playing.
``Nothing's happened that's never happened to anybody before. It's not something new that's happened to me and I'm going to keep working through it.''
The Chargers expected a more polished performance from Rivers this season, especially under the tutelage of head coach Norv Turner. While Turner is just 63-86-1 as an NFL head coach, he was acclaimed for his work with Troy Aikman as offensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1990s.
``When he's had time and when things have gone good for him, he's made a lot of big plays,'' Turner said about Rivers. ``We're working through some things and we just have to eliminate the negative play and ultimately that's his responsibility.''
Turner, meanwhile, has taken heat for his playcalling.
``We evaluate it every Monday,'' he said. ``We look at it and there's always times when you look and say, 'Hey, we could have called this and it might have been better; that play, the call we liked, we didn't like the result of it.' I think it is part of the deal. I started calling plays in 1991, so fortunately I've called a lot of good ones, and unfortunately I've called some that didn't work out too well.''
Notes: C Nick Hardwick had limited participation in practice for the first time since hurting his right foot against the Raiders on Oct. 14, but ruled himself out for Sunday's game. Hardwick was optimistic after seeing a specialist Tuesday in Seattle. ``Structurally, everything's good,'' Hardwick said. ``They said you can't damage it any more. That's what I was concerned about, making sure that long term over short term, I didn't want to jeopardize anything. Now it's time to get after it.'' ... LaDainian Tomlinson can become the fourth-fastest player to reach 10,000 rushing yards. He's 91 yards short going into his 105th career game. Eric Dickerson (91 games), Jim Brown (98) and Barry Sanders (103) did it in the fewest games. Emmitt Smith (106) is fourth. Tomlinson would be the 22nd player overall to reach the milestone. Jacksonville's Fred Taylor became the 21st last weekend.