- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the San Diego Chargers' quarterback play.
Rewind: Well, you really can't play quarterback any better than Philip Rivers did against the Dallas Cowboys. He completed 83.3 percent of his passes, including 14 straight in the second half. He threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Rivers' only speed bump was an interception returned for a touchdown by Dallas linebacker Sean Lee. On the play, he was hit while throwing the ball by defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. In San Diego's new offense directed by coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Rivers looks more comfortable in the pocket, is making good decisions and is getting the ball out quick. And he's had good protection, with the Chargers' offensive line giving up just six sacks in four games.
Fast-forward: In his past three games against Oakland, Sunday's opponent, Rivers has thrown for 693 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception. All three of those contests have been victories for San Diego, including two at Oakland. The Raiders are giving up 237.5 passing yards a contest, rating 14th in the NFL. The Raiders have allowed seven passing touchdowns through four games and have no interceptions on the season.
Next man up: The Chargers played without three projected starters on the offensive line against Dallas but gave up only one sack against a talented Cowboys defensive front led by DeMarcus Ware. The consistent play of San Diego's unheralded offensive line has been one of the main reasons for Rivers' rebirth. San Diego coach Mike McCoy has been quick to credit offensive line coaches Joe D'Alessandris and Andrew Dees for getting that unit ready to play each week, regardless of who is available.
Prediction: Rivers will play well, but he won't need to put up gaudy numbers in this one. Let's go with 25-of-31 for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
7hEric D. Williams
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