Philip Rivers Has Been Just What the Indianapolis Colts Needed

Ryan Phillips
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts v Las Vegas Raiders
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Philip Rivers struggled through the first few weeks of the 2020 NFL season. Many wondered whether the Indianapolis Colts made a mistake signing the 39-year-old to a one-year, $25 million deal this offseason. But just when the doubters' cries were at their loudest, Rivers found his footing. Now the Colts are 10-4, likely playoff bound, and Rivers is the reason why.

Rivers was up and down through his first five weeks in the Circle City. The Colts were 3-2 and while their quarterback had completed 70.8 percent of his passes for 1,227 yards, he only had four touchdowns against five interceptions. The picks had been particularly crushing, as he threw two each in losses to the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Since that time, Rivers has been excellent. Over the past nine games, he's completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,608 yards, with 18 touchdowns against four interceptions. That's good enough for a passer rating of 104.8. He is in complete command of Frank Reich's system and is leading a balanced offense with an excellent emerging running back in Jonathan Taylor.

This is exactly what the Colts were hoping for when they signed Rivers to take the reigns of the offense away from Jacoby Brissett. He's steady, he's great at pre-snap adjustments and knowing when to check to a run or a pass, he hangs in the pocket and spreads the ball around to a ton of targets (he has completed passes to at least eight receivers in nine straight games). If you keep him upright -- something the Los Angeles Chargers failed to do over the last decade -- Rivers will reward your faith in him. He has only been sacked 14 times this season and aside from a terrible game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, he's more than paid the Colts back for their faith in him.

Since Week 6 Rivers has been among the best 10 quarterbacks in the league. Given that the Colts have one of the NFL's best defenses, that's all they've needed to go on a run to the top of the AFC South. Indianapolis is tied with the Tennessee Titans atop the division and has matchups with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jaguars remaining. Rivers has guided the Colts there.

A few months ago many were calling for Rivers to be benched and for Brissett to be brought in.
Those voices are silent now and there's a great chance chance Rivers will be brought back for an encore next year, would be his 18th season in the league. He has more than earned it.

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