Lean on mePhilip Rivers
will embark on the 2010 season with a streak of 13consecutive games with a touchdown pass.He was sensational during the team’s 11-game win-ning streak in ’09 as the team went from 3.5 gamesbehind Denver to an AFC West title and the No. 2 seedin the AFC Playoffs. During that stretch, Rivers completed 69.0% ofhis passes (209 of 303) for 2,735 yards and a rating of 112.0 whilethrowing 21 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. His passerrating over those 11 weeks was the highest in the NFL and his com-pletion percentage was third.The team’s starting quarterback since ’06, Rivers has led the Charg-ers to four straight AFC West titles; a 20-4 mark in AFC West play; acareer record of 49-22 (.690) as a starter (including playoffs); an evenmore impressive 28-8 (.778) record at Qualcomm Stadium, and an 18-0 record in the month of December.Rivers is the team’s career record-holder for regular-season com-pletion percentage (63.1) and passer rating (95.8). And last Aug. 24,he signed a six-year contract extension thru 2015.
A trademark of
career has been ball security. Thisyear was no exception as Rivers threw only nine regular-season interceptions in 486 passing plays. His interceptionpercentage (.019) was sixth-lowest in the NFL. Twice dur-ing the season, he went four full games without throwingan interception (streaks of 143 and 118 passes).With 64 regular-season starts under his belt, Rivers owns the NFL’slongest streak to start a career of games started without throwingthree or more interceptions. Hall of Fame quarterback
had the longest previous streak (57 games).
Passer-rating excellencePhilip Rivers
ranked among the league’s best in passerrating, posting the third-highest rating for the regular sea-son (104.4). Four times - tied with
for most inthe NFL - Rivers posted a single-game passer rating of130.0 or better. Rivers also led the NFL with four suchgames in 2008 and no quarterback in franchise history hasever had more than four 130.0-rated games in a season.
Keeping good companyPhilip Rivers
, who passed for a career-high 4,254 yards in 2009,was one of just ﬁve NFL quarterbacks to pass for more than 4,000yards, throw 25 or more touchdown passes and record a season passerrating of 100.0 or higher. The group included Rivers,
. In the NFL in’09, there were league records set for 4,000-yard passers (10), QBswith 25 or more TDs (12) and those with ratings of 100.0+ (ﬁve).Though not a career-high, Rivers’ 28 touchdown passes in ’09 werethe fourth-most in a season in team history.New England and Pittsburgh (16.9%) were third.This was aided by the fact that the Chargers were one of the mostdisciplined teams in the NFL in ’09. The Bolts were ﬂagged just 78times, their fewest ever in a 16-game season and tied for fourth-fewest in the league. And they gave up only 570 penalty yards, whichwas third-fewest in the league.
Jackson and Gates — a dynamic duoVincent Jackson
(1,167 yards) and
(1,157) enjoyedcareer seasons in 2009. They becamethe ﬁrst Chargers receiving duo to top1,000 yards since
(1,199) in 1985, andJackson became the ﬁrst Charger topost consecutive 1,000-yard seasonssince
(1995-96). And their2,324 combined yards were the most by two Chargers since
combined for 2,630 in 1980.As a team, the Chargers led the NFL in yards per catch (13.3) andcompletions of 20+ yards (67). Both Jackson and
ranked second in the league with an astounding 17.2 ypc avg. (min. 45rec.), while Gates led all tight ends with a 14.6 avg. Jackson (18.6 ypcin 2008) is the only NFL receiver to average over 17.0 ypc each of thelast two seasons.
Offensive line sets the tone
During the Chargers’ 11-game win streak to close out the regularseason, the offensive line had its best games.Featuring starters
Marcus McNeill, Kris Dielman,Nick Hardwick, Louis Vasquez
, the offensive line allowed just 11 sacks inthe last 347 pass plays and just six in the last seven games.By contrast, over the ﬁrst ﬁve weeks of the season when the teambattled injuries and fought to a 2-3 start, the Bolts gave up 15 sacksand didn’t generate a single 100-yard rushing game.Hardwick, the Chargers’ stalwart center and a Pro Bowler in ’06, re-turned to action on Christmas night in Tennessee, hisﬁrst game action since the Sept. 14 season opener inOakland where he sustained an ankle injury. He playednearly the entire game on Dec. 25 as the Chargers rushedfor 166 yards, their second-highest total of the season,and allowed only one sack in 28 passing plays.In Hardwick’s absence,
played the ﬁnest foot-ball of his career while anchoring the offensive line. However he suf-fered a season-ending ankle injury late in the Chargers’ Dec. 20 win athome against Cincinnati. It should also be noted that
started the ﬁrst 10 games at right tackle before an ankle injury pre-maturely ended his season Nov. 22 in Denver.
Tomlinson’s day of reckoningLaDainian Tomlinson
had a day to remember on Nov. 6 in Cleve-land. Less than a one-hour drive from the Pro FootballHall of Fame, this future HOFer put his personal stampon history at Cleveland Browns Stadium. First, Tomlin-son scored his 150th career touchdown, becoming thefastest in NFL history to do so. And later in the game, he passed Cleve-land Browns Hall of Famer,
, for eighth place on the NFL’sall-time rushing list. After the carry that lofted him into eighth place,Tomlinson paid tribute to Brown who was in attendance at the game,and after the game, Brown visited Tomlinson in the Chargers’ lockerroom to congratulate him on the feat and his career.With 12,490 yards, Tomlinson ranks eighth on the NFL’s all-timerushing list.
(12,739) is seventh.From 2000-09, Tomlinson set NFL marks for a decade for rushingyards (12,490), rushing touchdowns (138) and total TDs (153).