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Inside the Numbers: Philip Rivers' Late-Game Heroics vs. 49ers

Philip Rivers may have put on the best performance of his career, and may have notched his greatest comeback win, when he put the team on his injured back in the fourth quarter and led them to victory.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It still doesn't seem real.

Philip Rivers, who was well on his way to playing one of the worst games of his career last night, played some of his greatest football at the end and dragged his team to victory.

Philip Rivers, who looked as though he couldn't walk without pain, outran, outthrew, outthought and outplayed the San Francisco 49ers defense.

I've broken down Rivers' stats, quarter by quarter, so you can actually watch him get better as the game goes along:

  • First Quarter: 3-6, 20 pass yds, 1 INT
  • Second Quarter: 6-8, 63 pass yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Third Quarter: 9-15, 86 pass yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Fourth Quarter: 13-23, 174 pass yds, 2 TDs (2 Sacks)
  • Overtime: 2-2, 18 pass yds

Now, remember that the comeback win came behind a Center the Chargers got off the Bengals practice squad earlier this year and an undrafted rookie Offensive Tackle that was recently promoted from the practice squad (who was paying out of position at Right Guard). The offensive line wasn't helping Rivers much.

The defense wasn't helping much either, giving up 300+ rushing yards to Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore and fielding unnamed Cornerbacks after injuries to Brandon Flowers and Shareece Wright, but that also didn't seem to matter.

The run game, which was surprisingly decent behind a paper-thin offensive line, was left for dead when Rivers decided he needed to win this one on his own. The team ran 27 plays in the fourth quarter, 2 of which were running plays.

The San Diego Chargers barely have enough healthy bodies to field a football team, and they'll likely get eviscerated if they do make it into the playoffs, but for one night we got to see that Philip Rivers can win a football game all by himself, even with a bulging disk in his back that he probably needs surgery on. That's enough to give us hope in any game that Rivers is playing in, for the rest of his career.