Rivers on His Record-Tying Performance

Chargers QB Philip Rivers talks with the media following the Week 12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

On the game:

“I thought it was an all-around good team performance. We didn’t get off to the best start. They drove and scored, we went three-and-out, then they scored again to get up 10-0. Then we got going, offensively and defensively, the whole deal. I thought the return game gave us some good field position. Defensive stops, they got the turnover, we had a sack-fumble that the [defense] stopped them right away, then missed the field goal. We leaned on one another. We got going pretty good. There’s still some things that we can clean up, and that we will need to clean up heading into December. We know what we got coming December, starting next week. It was good to get back and get a win after that performance last week.”

On the two touchdowns by WR Mike Williams:

“The second one was just awesome. We tried to get the play out of bounds, obviously. It was third-and-two, but we wanted to get out of bounds, kind of stay aggressive. [WR] Keenan [Allen] did a great job keeping his feet in on that one, down in the 3-yard line. We said, ‘Shoot, let’s throw Mike a fade.’ He went up and got it. Great job keeping his feet in. A lot of guys made great catches today. [RB Austin] Ekeler had a few where they were not very accurate and he caught them. Keenan kept his feet in on that third down conversion for the half. Then the touchdown, Mike had two back in the end zone. Numerous guys did a heck of a job catching the football. That’s why I always say, ‘We.’ We completed those. The guys upfront blocked and ran the ball efficiently. It was a lot of good things. Again, I think we have to be extra critical of ourselves on the things we can clean up. Just start getting ready for Pittsburgh.”

On if he knew he went 25-for-25 when he threw the touchdown to Keenan Allen:

“I didn’t know. I didn’t know it was 25 in a row. I knew we hadn’t missed. I did know that we hadn’t missed, but I didn’t know where it was. I did know that that first miss was that little short throw to [Austin] Ekeler of all things. It was an efficient day, I guess, to say the least. We had those. There were so many guys today who were making the catches, the guys protecting. A lot goes into completing the ball, more than just me throwing it. It was a fun day, to say the least.”

On the sudden-change stop for the Chargers defense:

“That was huge. I probably should have left the original play on, I checked to a different play that takes a little bit longer. We were in an empty backfield, which you don’t like to hold it too long in that set. I probably shouldn’t have even tried to throw it. I was trying to get it to [RB] Melvin [Gordon III], I probably should have just eaten it at that point. Then our D [defense] goes three and out, they missed the field goal. From there, it was whatever it was — we had just scored seven and we continued it. It was 42 in a row I guess, 42 or 45 unanswered. Slow start, we were all lagging a bit. We wanted to start fast. We talked all week about getting off to a fast start. We didn’t, but that’s alright. That’s the way games go and it was good to see us bounce back, both sides. Making the plays we needed to, to get the turnaround.”

On TE Sean Culkin’s catch:

“Huge catch. He’s one I didn’t mention. I was thinking about the one in the boundaries and the one by [Austin] Ekeler, but yeah, huge catch. He went up and got it. All week, you run that and then all of the things that they can play, they played the coverage that goes to Sean. Which is great. Everybody is alive. We thought, ‘Hey, it’s going to be [TE Antonio] Gates on the corner out or they’re going to throw it to the tailback. Sure enough, he ends up open and he went up and made a heck of a catch. I think that’s what I know guys appreciate. I know as the quarterback, I appreciate that about our offense. So many guys contribute. So many guys can get it on any given play. I think that’s what makes us unique. There are so many guys that are involved. Then you see how excited guys are and making that play. It’s truly a team, an unselfish group all the way around. Just speaking offensively of all the guys that touched the ball, it makes it fun to be the one that’s throwing it to them.”

On Melvin Gordon III’s questionable availability:

“We’re all going to have to pick up the load a little bit. Thank goodness you have a guy like [Austin] Ekeler that’s right there behind him, that we know we have a great deal of confidence in, both in running the pass. We’re obviously not happy that Melvin’s dinged up right now, but having the chance to get [RB Justin] JJ [Jackson] some touches, make some runs. That’s going to help his confidence, get into it a few times again. Again, I think that’s good. If he were not to be able to go, we’re still going to run our offense. We can’t all of the sudden say, ‘Hey, let’s throw it 50 times.’ I think those guys, we trust those guys enough. The guys upfront are blocking and running well enough that we still have to continue with the balance and those three will have to pickup up that load. We’ll have to continue to be efficient in the passing game.”

On if the balance between defense and offense is what he envisioned before the season:

“Yeah, that’s who we wanted to be. It’s who we saw us being. I don’t think we’re there. I don’t think it’s a destination to get to and you go, ‘Okay, we got it.’ I think we’re doing some things and becoming that team that we want to be heading into December and hopefully into January. So we have to make that happen. Sitting at 8-3 doesn’t guarantee anything. Seeing [DE] Joey [Bosa] back and those guys rushing, [S] Derwin [James] getting that interception today, the defense getting a big stop there with the sudden-change. Then so many guys contributing on offense. When you throw for, whatever it was, 230 and run for 180, I mean that’s pretty balanced. It was a good day. I don’t think we punted until the fourth quarter. There were a lot of things we did good. We can clean up a few penalties, there’s things we can still clean up. We know there are things we can still clean up that we will need to at the end of this stretch, heading into December.”

On if he thought he would have to throw the ball away on the touchdown pass to WR Keenan Allen:

“I was going to score and spike it. There for a minute I was like, ‘This is my chance, I have never scored a rushing touchdown. I was going to spike it as hard as I could. No, then I saw him and [Cardinals S] Tre [Boston] kind of tangled up, and I was just like, ‘If he comes back down right now, we have a chance.’ I knew he was close to the boundary, and what a great job of keeping his feet it on that one and making that play.”

On the ability to play with ease under pressure:

“I think you grow more comfortable [in dealing with pressure] over time. I think it's experience, as it [is something] that comes with time. I do feel like that I play compact for a big, tall and long guy. I don't need a lot of room to get a pass off. I think it's just from earlier on in my career when here, with knowing where check-downs and guys [in the play] are, that will help you. You can't rip balls down the field if it gets a little dicey in [the pocket], but you can find Melvin [Gordon III], Austin [Ekeler] and [TE Antonio] Gates in spots without hardly ever [needing] to move your arm [to make the throw]. So, yes — I am a little bit more comfortable in a 'muddy' pocket than I am anywhere else outside of [the pocket]. I tell you what, I don't want to overstate the 'muddiness' because our [offensive line] does a heck of a job with protection. Last year, we were fewest in the league in sacks and sacks aren't their only stat. This year, we're off to a heck of a start. I mean, I was on the ground a few times today, so the guys up front are doing heck of job of making [the pocket] clean, but when it is a little 'muddy', I don't mind it.”

On any disappointment with the incompletion to RB Austin Ekeler:

“Well, I didn't know [it was the only incomplete pass]. It's about winning the game as I wasn't worried about that [statistic]. I did know we hadn't missed [a pass] and it would've been nice because [it means] we wouldn't have missed the rest of that drive. Those are kind of those far-off dreams you think about. Like, [what if I would ever play a game] where I don't miss one [pass]? Then you quickly say [to yourself] — [it's] probably not [going to happen], but there [is] the fact that we were standing there in the fourth quarter and we hadn't [missed a pass]. Again, I know I keep saying 'We', because some of the great catches — and they were great catches — that could've easily fallen [as] incomplete. There are the guys protecting up front. So, 'We' completed 25 in a row. I mean, there are a lot of guys involved in all of those [passes].” 

On whether there was a feeling “of perfection heading into the fourth quarter:

I mean, it was going [well]. I thought the two-minute drive [at the end of the second quarter] was huge. We had some good drives, but [with] the two-minute drive, usually [there will be] some 'throw away' [passes] and have to do some things [to preserve time]. We didn't have to throw one away. I don't know if we hit 10 [completions] in that drive or how many there were, but that was to me a huge drive. We were just efficient. Again, [especially] with running the ball well. I think we were averaging six and half yards per play. [So] when you're doing that [and] when you only have seven third down [situations], you need to think about those [factors]. One of those [third down situations], I dove short and we made [the conversion] on fourth down. We had two [more third down situations] in the fourth quarter, [where] we kicked the field goal [on one] and punted [on the other]. When you only have five or six third down [situations] when the [gas] pedal is down, that means you're doing pretty dang good on first and second down.”

On him not having a perfect passer rating:

“Yeah, I don’t know about all that. I know we won the game. It’s a fun day when you do some of the things we did today. We needed to win the football game and we didn’t start off very well, but then we got back on track. It was great to get a win, especially after last week, and we know what’s ahead. When you have to go to Pittsburgh, go to Kansas City, go to Denver, all in December. Then you host Cincinnati and Baltimore, that’s going to be a heck of a December. We’re going to have to make sure we’re up for it. It starts in Pittsburgh.”

On if the block on the corner would go on his highlight reel:

“Nah, it wasn’t really good. I had a couple good ones this year, but that one wasn’t my best. It’s a frightening thing, outside the hashes, in space. A bunch of big, fast dudes running around.”

On the third and goal play called when facing the 10-0 deficit:

“We thought [Arizona] was going to play Cover 2. So, we called a high-low on both sides on the outsides and we had [TE Antonio] Gates running down the middle. We were just going to sit it down right on the goal line. [Arizona] ended up not playing [Cover 2]. They kind of played three over two [on one side] and I wasn't sure how they were going to play the front side, so I eliminated [the] one side to [WR] Keenan [Allen] and I think it was [RB] Melvin [Gordon III], who was in at that point. I was thinking [to throw it to] Gates and the safety hung on Gates. I think when the cornerback saw Gates going vertical, he thought [WR] Mike [Williams] was going to stay vertical and run a seam [route]. Then, all of a sudden Mike went to the corner and got lost behind him. I wasn't sure how much room we had, so instead of hitting [WR Mike Williams] in stride, I [thought] to let the ball go high to let [Williams] go up and get it. He did it on that [pass] and on the fade route later [on].” 

On the challenge of playing Pittsburgh:

“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge. We won that game in 2012, it was a weird game. It was late in the year like this and we weren’t in the mix. We had a lot of guys banged up and we found a way to win that one. Then we’ve had some other trips that haven’t gone so well in Pittsburgh. It’s tough. You’re dealing with some weather, you’re dealing with a great fan base. Then you mentioned it, they have a heck of an offense that leads those guys over there and a defense that plays really well. They’ve drafted some guys over the years that kind of fit the same mold of the guys that we remember in those days when they were unbelievable in defense. It will be a heck of a challenge, but these are the games we love to play in. A December game in Pittsburgh on Sunday night, an 8-3 team and I don’t know where they’re going to end up. They’re going to be right there. It was a one score game in Denver. It’s kind of all you can ask for going into December.”

On having the most completions to start a game today:

“It was a fun day. It was efficient, to say the least. There were a lot of great catches. A lot of catches on the boundary. A lot of guys caught the ball, that what I was saying. I think we should acknowledge all of those guys. They were part of it, all 25 or 28 of them. The guys upfront protecting, because we ask a lot of those guys, the run-pass game. They never blink. Whenever a play is called, they go all out.”

On DE Joey Bosa’s impact on the team:

“It was just exciting, exciting for him. You see a guy, you know how hard he trains and how hard he works. We were just talking in the fourth quarter, where he was like, ‘This is the first sack and I’m feeling this good since Oakland last year.’ That’s 11 months ago. The guy trains so hard. You know the ability he has, what he brings to the team. It was great to see and you saw how excited the guys were when you got those sacks. Then you add him to a defense that was already playing pretty dang well without him. It’s good to have him back out there and seeing that was fun.”

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