Philip Rivers joined the very rare 500-yard club with a tremendous passing performance at Lambeau Field. But it was the three yards he and the San Diego Chargers couldn’t get that meant the most.
Rivers completed 43 of 65 passes for 503 yards — one of only 17 times the 500-yard mark has been reached in NFL history — but his fourth-and-goal pass from the Green Bay 3-yard line was tipped away by Packers rookie DB Damarious Randall with 15 seconds remaining in a 27-20 Green Bay win on Sunday.
By contrast, Aaron Rodgers’ numbers were surprisingly tame: 16 of 29 passing, 255 yards and two touchdowns, but he played well and did so with rookie receiver Ty Montgomery going down with an injury. Rodgers divvied up his 16 completions to nine different receivers, led by Jeff Janis’ two catches for a team-high 79 yards with the Chargers focusing their defensive attention on Randall Cobb (two catches, 38 yards).
Rivers’ 43 completions tie Rich Gannon and Matt Schaub for the second most in NFL history, behind Drew Bledsoe’s 45 in an overtime win for the New England Patriots in 1994. Bledsoe also holds the passes-attempted mark of 70; Rivers’ 65 ties him for seventh all time in a game with Tom Brady and Steve Young. The 503 yards matches Ben Roethlisberger’s total from a game, also against the Packers, back in 2009.
The all-time yardage mark in a game is held by the Los Angeles Rams’ Norm Van Brocklin with 554 — remarkably, it has stood since 1951, and only a few quarterbacks even have been within striking distance of it. (We wrote about the vaunted record last season when Roethlisberger carved up the Indianapolis Colts for 522 yards, becoming the only two-time 500-yard QB.)
There didn’t appear to be a huge talent gap between the 6-0 Packers and the 2-4 Chargers, who outgained Green Bay 548-370 and nearly doubled them (32 to 17) in first downs. But Malcom Floyd dropped a touchdown, Rivers got away with a few interceptible passes, the Chargers commited nine penalties and rookie running back Melvin Gordon lost a fumble late in the first quarter.
After that Gordon fumble, the Chargers almost completely abandoned the run altogether. From that point on, they attempted only 11 rushes on their next 54 plays, gaining a mere 20 yards on the ground.
If the ground game doesn’t develop, then Rivers is going to have to carry this team if it had any chance of getting back into the AFC West race, which has been dominated by the 6-0 Denver Broncos.
– – – – – – –