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5 Throw Friday: Rivers Puts on a Clinic

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Los Angeles Chargers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

I’m supposed to write about 5 throws from a college QB every Friday. With it being the holidays I was going to take today off. With the Chargers playing yesterday I thought about it. But with how Philip Rivers threw the ball it was an easy decision. Rivers put on a clinic yesterday. He was throwing guys open. Trusting his receivers to make a play. His control, touch, and velocity were all on point. I feel like this season Rivers has been bailing from clean pockets more than ever. Yesterday he hung in there, took a shot and still delivered the ball accurately. For my money, it was the best he has played in a couple years. Here are the 5 throws.

Back-shoulder Strikes

In the 1st quarter, Keenan Allen ran a corner route. The defender had it covered. Before he could get his head around, Rivers threw it Allen’s left shoulder. There’s nothing the CB could’ve done here.

We saw this throw to Hunter Henry against the Raiders earlier this year. Rivers actually said it’s intentional. He called it a “back-shoulder corner.” With a body flying at him, Rivers doesn’t flinch. He stands tall & delivers a strike.

In the 3rd quarter, Rivers did it again. Dallas doubled Henry in the end zone. That didn’t matter. The line gave him plenty of time to deliver. Rivers wanted to go left. He didn’t pull the trigger on a fade to Allen or a “whip” route to Ekeler. Instead of panicking he works back to the middle of the field & throws Henry open.

If you’re Byron Jones there, you really just have to tip your hat. That’s good coverage. But good offense beats good defense and that’s what happened here. A great throw by El Capitan.

Timing & touch

When Rivers is throwing the ball on time and in rhythm he’s tough to stop. Once that back foot hits and the ball comes out it’s usually good things for the offense. His touchdown throw to Tyrell Williams was just that. The ball is in the air before Williams gets 10 yards.

Because the ball is out quick the corner can’t get his head around & the safety can’t get there in time. Perfectly placed over the outside shoulder where the CB can’t make a play. This is what the kids call a dime. The throw is perfect. The timing is as well.

Standing tall

The lone blemish came where the running back missed a block and Rivers had a throw sail on him. Luckily, the sun got in the defender's eyes.

Tough to tell if Rivers expected Gates to run a post more upfield and Gates flattened his route there. It could be the hit as well. It’s been two games in a row where they didn’t turn it over on offense. There’s no doubt that’s a big key to their success. They got away with one here.

As a QB there are going to be times where you know you’re going to take a hit. Especially if you have a long-developing play. At the end of the 1st quarter Rivers hung in there and delivered a deep crossing route to Henry.

Sometimes you’ll see throws just concede and take that sack. Or the throw will be airmailed because they hold the ball too long. Love how Rivers hangs in here and gets the job done.

Rivers played with great energy and passion Thursday. Throws were in rhythm. The ball was going to their best players. His confidence was evident. Some have mentioned they didn’t like a couple of throws he made. I thought the chances he took were fine. Trust your big targets. They’ll catch it or draw a penalty. That’s the mentality you have to have. If Rivers continues to cut it loose like he did, the Chargers will be playing more than 16 games this year. What a great game by him.