After starting their season 0-4, the Los Angeles Chargers have rallied to a 5-6 record, with Philip Rivers leading the team to a dominant 28-6 win over Dallas on Thanksgiving. Rivers joined The Jim Rome Show on Monday and gave credit to his team’s unlikely playoff push to first-year head coach Anthony Lynn.
“I think it starts at the top. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t panic,” Rivers told CBS Sports Radio. “He said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get this straightened out now, were 0-4, we don’t have any more time to mess around.’ And the guys kept playing and kept playing. And kept playing because we believed we were right there.”
The Chargers were right there, but only after some excruciating losses. They lost to Denver, Miami and Philadelphia by a total of seven points.
“It wasn’t one of those, man, we are terrible, I don’t know if we’re going to win a game,” Rivers said. “It was, If we could just find a way to win one game, then we know what were capable of doing. We can get hot, and we’ve done that thus far.”
After those early struggles, the Chargers have found their identity. Some of that was taking a more simplistic approach with the offense, especially with the team’s defense on the ascent.
“Defensively, I mean they’re playing fast and going to get the football and getting turnovers,” Rivers said. “Offensively, I think it’s, let’s get the ball in our best players’ hands. Whether that means forty rushing attempts one week with Melvin Gordon, and (Austin) Eckler or whether it means throw it to Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, throw it to those guys forty times, I think it’s just get the ball in our best players hands and that can change week to week. We’ve done that really well the last two weeks, and it’s been our best two offensive performances.”
At 35-years-old, Rivers is entering the twilight of his career. But he had a career performance against the Cowboys with 434 passing yards and three touchdowns. After taking some criticism, he hopes the home stretch of the season includes more games like the one he just played.
“I don’t really pay attention to what’s being said out there on the outside, but I think you are also lying as a competitor to say that you don’t hear any of it, we are all human,” Rivers said. “Bottom line is, it’s about winning, and helping our team win, which I haven’t done well enough, so I can own up to that. But yeah, I don’t know if it’s proving them wrong, but it was just a little bit of that.”
Just one win behind Kansas City after the Chiefs started the season 5-0, Rivers knows that the AFC West is still up for grabs. And with the Raiders and Broncos struggling, the door is open for Los Angeles.
“I just really like the makeup of this team, and feel like we have a chance,” Rivers said. “Now obviously, we all know everybody has a chance, it’s a matter of going out there and doing it. But I’m excited about where we are. And I hope I have plenty in the tank, and I hope I have plenty to give right here in L.A.”