So, is Philip Rivers really this bad? It's been downright ugly lately, especially his disgusting pass thrown directly into the chest of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defender that was returned for a touchdown in Week 10.
That interception was particularly frustrating; the Bolts were down just three tallies and were in prime field goal range. Simply run the ball out of bounds or throw the ball out of bounds - an easy task in this instance. Instead, it's a 10-point swing that essentially loses San Diego the contest and another game in the division.
San Diego enthusiasts and Rivers owners know all too well about his knack for making bad decisions, especially late in games with the game on the line. This season is standing out in particular because he should be eliminating these mistakes as a nine-year veteran.
Who's to blame?
The biggest issue, though, is the lack of big-play threats on this roster. The absence of Vincent Jackson and the slow recovery of Vincent Brown (leg) have left Rivers without a home run threat through the air this year. Malcom Floyd, Danario Alexander and the always inconsistent Robert Meachem don't strike too much fear in the opposing defense.
The 32-year-old Antonio Gates, while still useful in stretches, isn't the player he once was, and he's often had to chip in to help a suspect offensive line protect their QB. Rivers has been sacked 22 times this season, ninth most in the league.
The running game isn't bailing Rivers out anytime soon, either. Ryan Mathews lacks the killer instinct as a lead back and is often brought down too easily. As a result, and Norv Turner concurs, Rivers is putting too much of the load on his shoulders, being the fierce competitor he is.
Despite his two costly interceptions against the Bucs last week, Rivers still managed to throw for 337 yards and three touchdowns. However, it was against a Tampa D that is consistently beaten through the air, and it was only Rivers' second 300-yard effort of the season, the other coming against another porous secondary, the New Orleans Saints.
He still has more TDs (15) than picks (12), but if you think you can rely on Rivers to boost you into the fantasy playoffs or make a playoff run, you're almost as ridiculous as the upper lip growth that Rivers is calling a mustache these days.
He could be hit and miss in his remaining games, with possible hits at home against the Baltimore Ravens (Week 12) and Cincinnati Bengals (Week 13) and on the road against the New York Jets (Week 17), but you'd be wise to avoid him or risk relying on him with your season on the line.
Expect more ugly this week against a Denver Broncos team that is averaging 4.3 sacks per game in the last month. They're also averaging 1.33 interceptions per contest; not very appetizing when considering Rivers' numbers this year.
Potential grinders against the Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 14) and Carolina Panthers (Week 15) don't look very promising, either. At this point in the year, if you're unable to trade for a better signal-caller, Rivers is a candidate worth dropping for others like Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton, who both have more fantasy points this year than Rivers. Heck, even Cam Newton has tallied more points for his owners.
The bottom line: Rivers isn't getting much help from those around him and a less-is-more approach - which really isn't in his vocabulary - won't save Norv Turner's job or San Diego's season. Rivers isn't this bad, he's just not in the position to succeed this year, and his glory days could easily be behind him.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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