QB Philip Rivers: "We found a way to win."

Following the Week 4 29-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Chargers QB Philip Rivers talks with the media.

Opening Statement:

“Let me tell you, I’ve never played a game where I’ve lost by that margin and feel so good about it. I love the way the first unit went out and played against one of the top rush teams in the league, and they held them to under four-yards a carry the whole first half. Offensively, they moved the ball on the ground. We know we can throw the football on anybody, and they averaged over six-yards a carry in the first half and doing all of that with no penalties. That’s been one of the things we’ve been focusing on—stopping the run, running the football, and not beating ourselves. I thought that was an improvement. Now the second half, that’s a whole different story. I thought our reserves go outplayed. We couldn’t convert on third downs. We couldn’t stop them on third downs. We have a lot of work to do right there.”

On the game’s comeback:

“I think it was just a gritty team win. It wasn’t the best day, but at the same time, we showed some of the traits that we always talk about having — toughness, togetherness, the fight. Shoot, the defense stepped up big in huge ways, obviously. We struggled, obviously, coming out of the gates, threw an interception for a touchdown and not doing a lot. Then we settled in and kind of got a groove there for awhile, and then kind of got in a little bit of a rut. We found a way to win. There’s no game in the NFL that should be easier or harder than the other — they’re all hard, and we found a way today.”

On RB Melvin Gordon III today:

“He hit it awfully hard, and the guys in the front did a nice job. They’re one of the top rush defenses in the league and I think we averaged five yards a carry, which is awesome. Melvin ran super hard. I know it gives the whole sideline, everybody, a boost when they just see the effort that he gives, that he always gives. [RB] Austin [Ekeler] mixed in there ran well, too. I thought we made enough plays in the passing game, it obviously wasn’t one of our best day. If these are our bad days, then I guess we can live with it, although I’d like to have the turnovers back, obviously.”

On being 2-2 at this stage when last year they were 0-4:

“We’ve got to go. We can’t keep going win for loss the whole way there. We know what that does — that usually leaves you on the outside looking in. We don’t even think like that now, we just need to try to win another one. Today we were just trying to get on a roll, when you can’t get on a roll, just win one. Now we have a chance to win two in a row next week with the Raiders coming in.”

On TE Antonio Gates being wide open for his touchdown:

“I wasn’t sure how they were going to play it. The corner was out there with Melvin [Gordon], which usually the linebacker is on Melvin, and the linebacker was on Gates. I wasn’t really sure what they were in. They kind of did that to us all day, playing some man stuff with different guys to not let us get a feel for what they were in. I wanted to stare at Melvin first, thinking I wanted to throw him that quick slant and they both drove Melvin, and then Gates just popped open. It’s not [often] when he’s that wide open.”

On struggling to get going early:

“Obviously, we talked about it all week, getting off to a fast start. We have to do that until we do it. Until we do it, we don’t have it figured out. I don’t know if there’s any magic play call or magic formula to that. We just have to execute better, early.”

On the second quarter when they got the touchdown and the 2-point conversion:

“It was huge, we stood over there and it was almost 11 minutes. We knew that drive was big. We knew it was probably the last possession, at least we felt, the last possession of the half. It was a huge drive finishing in the end zone with a touchdown and then getting a quick three-and-out. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do. We had two timeouts. I thought they might play it a little conservative, but they went for it. [CB Desmond] Des [King II] did a great job running the punt back. Where we were on the field, they were super soft prevent type, because they know probably we only have two plays, realistically. So there was nothing there really to take a shot to get in the endzone and getting three there. Getting ten points in a matter of two and a half minutes was big before halftime.”

On how much the offense benefits when Gordon is running aggressively:

“It’s huge. Like we’ve always said, we’re our best when we’re balanced. I think last year when we were rolling, we were balanced. We’ve been that this year for the most part. Lack of some execution in some of our losses, lack of some execution in some of it today. There was lack of execution in the second half against Buffalo. That’s football. It’s not going to always go perfect. I thought our guys hung in there together and fought. The guys up front did a nice job but I think they would tell you too, when they see Melvin running like that and fighting for every single yard, it adds even more juice to the huddle and the sidelines when they see a run like that.”

On being 2-2 at this point in the season:

“Shoot, not where we wanted to be, we lost to two teams that that are going to win 11, 12 football games probably. There’s no consolation in that other than you know those are the types of teams that you have to beat if you get to January. We can all agree they’re good football teams. We finally get to 2-2, I’ve said this at the beginning, but we can’t be going win, loss, win, loss. We know where that leaves you at the end of the year. It’s time to win two in a row and that starts next week.”

On the wide receivers improving from the beginning of the year:

“They’re going to be just fine, I have no doubts. Even I could have made some better throws early too in the season. Today, I didn’t throw it great, I don’t need to say that, it was probably obvious watching. The receivers are going to be fine. It’s one of those deals you’re going to get in a rhythm and Tyrell [Williams] made some huge plays today, Mike [Williams] didn’t have many opportunities. Keenan [Allen] ended up getting a couple there in that drive, I don’t know if he finished with six, seven catches maybe. It’s such a dynamic group. We have so many guys. It’s just going to be kind of week to week. I can’t tell you who is going to get the ball and I think that’s what makes us tough to defend. Although San Francisco, I thought they did a heck of a job today, they had us a little off balance a few times and they played us well.”

On if he said anything to K Caleb Sturgis after the game:

“I did not. I don’t know the best route to take there. I threw an interception for a touchdown today and I don’t like anybody saying anything to me. It’s one of those, ‘Hey we’re fine, we’re fine.’ It’s like, I know we will be fine but it’s not okay. I don’t know kicking, what it feels like. I know it’s a mental deal. You spray one with water, I guess, off a tee. I don’t really want to say anything. I really don’t know where the next is going. Not to make light of it, it’s a serious deal and I know the work that the Caleb has put in. He’s been consistent really, through practice, I haven’t seen him miss one in a while. It is somewhat frustrating, it just puts a damper on the drive, but we were able to overcome it today, like we were able to overcome an interception for a touchdown. We would never have been in that situation had I not thrown it to the other team, as well. Hopefully it gets ironed out.”

On facing the Raiders:

“They got the first win and they’ve been in some close games. They were 13-13 I think against the Rams. I don’t know all the scores, I know in Miami they were close and then obviously to win the one today, and the third one they lost, I can’t remember all those games — Denver, in game two. We know it’s a division opponent and we know the Raiders and us, it’s always been a heck of a challenge, heck of a game. Obviously, they’ve made some changes there so it will be a different defensive scheme and some things like that, but excited. They’re going to be fired up after winning an emotional game like that. We’ll be ready for those guys and then flip the tape on, flip the sides and watch Cleveland next week. We’re here to get above .500 and hopefully get on a little bit of a roll. Oakland comes in here and it’s our chance to get to 3-2 and catch back up. It will be a heck of a challenge.”

On passing Hall of Fame QB John Elway for eighth-most passing yards in NFL history:

“I think it’s hard during the course of the year, and at the end of the game I’m excited we won the game. It didn’t really feel like I played very [well]. It’s one of those when here in a couple hours you can appreciate it and how many guys contributed to those things, all of that. Those are guys I had posters of on my wall, so just to be mentioned with those guys is definitely special.”

On Gordon’s run giving him a spark:

“It was awesome. I give credit to the guys up front, there was room to run. Then credit to him, I think he runs like that it gives juice to the huddle and the offensive line, when they see him running back there and scrapping for yards like he was. I think it gives juice to the whole team. He ran awfully hard and obviously gets in for another touchdown. He seems to find a way to do that. He catches and runs it every week. It was all around a gritty performance by him.”

On if he understands the new rules about hitting the quarterback:

“Not really. Flip a coin.”

On S Derwin James:

“He’s been great. He has the demeanor, and he’s made the plays obviously, but he has the demeanor of one of those double-digit year safeties. That’s what he is. He will ascend in a hurry to that kind of role. That’s just his demeanor and the way he plays, the passion he has and the aggression he plays with. He was a heck of a pick. I’m glad he’s on our side.”

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