Thursday, November 1, 2012
Rivers passes have near-perfect flow
By ESPN Stats & Information
Jake Roth/US Presswires
Philip Rivers had a can't-miss night against the Chiefs.
So who had the better game in the last four days: Philip Rivers or Alex Smith?
Rivers threw two non-completions to Smith’s one, but his performance in the San Diego Chargers win over the Kansas City Chiefs may have been more impressive because he made a few tougher throws.
Rivers finished 18-for-20 (the two non-completons were an interception and a throwaway). He became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to complete at least 90 percent of his throws, on a day in which he made at least 20 pass attempts.
Smith didn’t make that list (the NFL’s official record requirement is 20 attempts), as he finished 18-for-19.
This came one week after another game in which Rivers finished with 18 completions ... in 34 attempts in a loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Rivers was a perfect 8-for-8 for 135 yards and two touchdowns (to Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd) on throws that traveled at least 11 yards in the air.
Smith only had three pass attempts that traveled more than 11 yards in that Monday Night win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Prior to Thursday, quarterbacks had 208 instances in which they attempted at least six passes of at least 11 yards in the air. None of the quarterbacks completed 100 percent of those throws.
Rivers entered the day with a 58 percent completion rate on such passes, tied for eighth-best in the NFL, but was perfect in this contest.
Rivers was also a perfect 10-for-10 for 143 yards and a score in three-receiver sets. He entered the day with a 64 percent completion rate in those sets, but with more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4).
Rivers also set a Chargers record for single-game completion rate, breaking the mark of 88 percent previously set by Drew Brees in 2004.
Rivers’ previous best was an 83 percent rate (19-for-23) against the Indianapolis Colts in 2010.
Elias Stat of the Game
The Kansas City Chiefs have not yet led during a game through their first eight games of the season. The last NFL team to start a season with eight straight games in which they failed to lead during the contest was the 1929 Buffalo Bisons.
The Bisons folded at the conclusion of that season.