The Chargers' top four wide receivers on paper this offseason were Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis. Despite not having any of them at his disposal on Sunday, QB Philip Rivers still led San Diego to victory.
With a wave of injuries striking the receiving corps, Rivers was forced to play with a cast of deep reserves this week. But it didn't seem to faze him much at all, as he threw for 305 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 33-25 win over the Titans.
Through eight games, Rivers has thrown for 2,649 yards with 15 TDs and seven INTs. That's the most yards a passer has ever accumulated in the first eight contests of a season, and it puts him on pace for 5,298 yards, which would be an NFL record.
While Rivers isn't happy with the Chargers' losing record, he thinks his play will lead to more triumphs in the second half of the season.
"To me it's a team deal," Rivers said after Sunday's game. "I'd rather be 5-3 or 6-2 than be sitting at 3-5 and have a record like that. I think it's a reflection or our team, our guys up front blocking. It takes a lot of guys catching the ball and running. Hopefully there's a lot more yards left this year, and hopefully they're going to turn into a lot more wins."
The PFW Spin
While Rivers has had some tremendous years in the NFL and isn't playing with quite the same efficiency that he has the past two seasons, this might be his most impressive campaign yet. Considering that he has been without Jackson for the entire season and has been missing Floyd, Naanee and Davis for parts of it, his numbers have no business being as good as they are, yet here he is shattering records with a crew of no-name wideouts.
It wouldn't be fair to credit Rivers without also crediting TE Antonio Gates, though. Dealing with a toe injury, Gates has fought through to have may be the best year of his career to this point. He's racking up yardage, big plays and touchdowns at an alarming rate even though defenses know he's getting the ball. On pace for 80 catches, 1,326 yards and 18 TDs, he's having one of the best campaigns ever for a tight end, and doing so at less than full strength.
Possessing the league's No. 1 offense and defense, it's difficult to figure out why the Bolts sit at 3-5. Special-teams woes are certainly one big reason, but the club hasn't received many breaks thus far. With the offense operating at a high level and Jackson set to return for the final six games, it wouldn't be a shock to see San Diego make a run at the AFC West. It also wouldn't be a big surprise if Rivers continues to be a pile up the yards and breaks Dan Marino's single-season record.