Philip Rivers didn't exactly have the best time out there on the football field in 2019. Despite throwing for over 4,600 yards, the veteran quarterback was often under siege. The Chargers' struggles along the offensive line contributed to 34 sacks and 56 quarterback hits on Rivers. In turn, that helped result in 20 interceptions (third highest in the NFL), a 5-11 record, and the thought that Father Time may be knocking on Rivers' door.
That narrative that the veteran's poor play and turnovers were a clear sign of decline was only highlighted even more when the Chargers and Rivers decided to part ways this offseason. The quarterback has since signed with the Indianapolis Colts to a one-year, $25 million deal to be the starter and prove that he still has plenty left in the tank.
"At times what may have aggravated me a little bit last year was [critics saying] that I couldn't play anymore," Rivers told reporters Wednesday, via ESPN. "When you heard that, it bothered me because I wanted to go, 'Shoot, let's go turn on the tape and watch all the good things.' There were some bad plays. Certainly some throws I want back and certainly some very costly mistakes. I own up to all those. There was so much good and I had some throws last year that were probably as good as I've had my whole career. I knew. So I didn't feel like I had to sell that to anyone. But at the same time, it did aggravate you little bit. I think it's OK to be aware. I'm one of those guys that likes to be aware."
For Indianapolis, they are banking on the fact that the 38-year-old is right in his assumption that he still has the skills to lead the Colts offense through the 2020 season and possibly beyond. The oddsmakers are also looking quite favorably on Rivers' Colts as Indy is currently tied for the fourth-best odds to come out of the AFC. They are also the favorites to win the AFC South at +140.
We should get a good read on the situation and whether or not the critics are right to point to a possible decline for Rivers now that he's in Indy. Rivers goes from a Chargers offensive line that ranked 29th in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus, to the Colts, who were tapped as the third-best unit in the league. Rivers will also have talented weapons around him at the skill positions highlighted by receivers T.Y. Hilton and 2020 second-round pick Michael Pittman Jr. along with a running game that features Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.
If Rivers is able to produce, not only will that go a long way in helping Indianapolis get over the hump and truly contend in the conference, but it'd essentially shut up his critics and show the old-timer still has it.