Philip Rivers is finally moving on from the Los Angeles Chargers after 16 seasons in powder blue. The veteran gunslinger led the Chargers to six playoff appearances and five playoff wins, but he was never able to reach the Super Bowl.
Rivers is reportedly signing with the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2020 season. It will be a much-needed fresh start for Rivers, whose time with the Chargers seemed cursed. He gave the franchise great regular season success and four straight playoff appearances, but he could never win the big one.
A fresh city and a new team with great ownership is exactly what Rivers needed, and he got it with the Colts.
Philip Rivers is an all-time great quarterback
Rivers isn’t thought to be among the all-time greats at the quarterback position by many, but his numbers say the contrary.
Rivers has thrown for 59,271 yards and needs three touchdown passes to surpass 400 in his career. He has thrown for the sixth-most passing yards and the sixth-most touchdowns in NFL history with a few years still left in the tank. If he’s able to stay healthy this season he will pass Dan Marino for fifth on both lists.
In 14 years as the starting quarterback for the Chargers, Rivers went 123-101. He led the team to eight winning seasons and four straight trips to the playoffs in his first four years as the starter. Rivers even led the Chargers to an AFC Championship game in 2008, but the 18-0 New England Patriots got in his way of a Super Bowl appearance.
The Colts have a roster suited to win now
The Colts give Rivers his best opportunity in years to make a run at his first Super Bowl. After a 5-11 season in LA last season, it was clear the Chargers weren’t going to give Rivers another shot in the few years he has left.
Rivers now has an offense around him much more suited for his game. T.Y. Hilton loves running deep routes, and Rivers loves throwing them. The two should hit it off immediately.
Rivers also loves to target his tight ends in the red zone. Antonio Gates was his favorite end zone target for years, and Hunter Henry took his place recently. Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are both dependable weapons in the red zone for Rivers to target heavily.
The Colts also have a stellar offensive line. Football Outsiders ranked the Colts’ unit the seventh-best pass blocking line in the NFL last season. Rivers isn’t very mobile anymore, but he loves to buy time in the pocket to allow his receivers to find open areas of the field. The Colts will allow him to do just that.
How much does Rivers have left in the tank?
Rivers had a bit of a down year last season. The Chargers struggled as a team, and Rivers followed suit by forcing too many throws and trying to win games himself.
Rivers threw 20 interceptions in 2019, which is the second-most he’s thrown in a single season. Many of those picks, however, came late in the fourth quarter when Rivers was forcing the ball downfield in a comeback effort.
He still completed 66 percent of his passes and threw for over 4,600 yards, but his touchdown numbers were a bit worrisome. Rivers threw just 23 touchdowns last season, his lowest since 2007.
His down year could easily be signaling the beginning of the end for the 38-year-old Rivers, but starting anew with a winning organization and a loaded roster could be just what Rivers needs to have a late-career resurgence .