The rookie quarterback took over for Doug Flutie at the half. His initial series of the game began slowly, especially after a false start penalty set the Bolts and Philip Rivers back.
His first pass was a shovel pass that went incomplete as he fought off pressure. His second pass was a bad call and one that was expected by media and fans alike – a screen on third down and 13 that lost five yards.
"I was excited to get out there and get the opportunity," said Rivers. "It was a bumpy start of a career in a game that counted."
He began to find more rhythm in his second series. An eight yard pass to Andrew Pinnock earned him another set of downs. A third and eight pass to Michael Turner came up just shy of the flags, although the Chargers challenged the call on the field only to see a timeout taken away.
On Rivers' third possession, he hit Ryan Krause for a ten yard pass before taking a snap and fumbling it. He recovered enough to jump on the ball ten yards in the backfield. His next pass, a double-pump, went deep to Malcom Floyd but the ball was slightly underthrown.
"I finally settled down when I hit Krause over the middle early in the fourth quarter," he said. "A couple plays later is when I bumped the ball off my leg and lost it."
It was on his fourth series that Rivers hit pay dirt. Setup with great field position by an Adrian Dingle interception and aided by a 26-yard gain by Turner, Rivers found Floyd in the back corner of the end zone on a fade route for six, the first touchdown of both of their careers.
While Rivers said that he wouldn't mind if Floyd kept his first NFL touchdown reception, Floyd seemed to think Rivers deserved the ball more for throwing his first touchdown pass.
Floyd conceded that the ball would likely end up with Rivers – after some prodding.
"I have to respect my elders," the rookie wide receiver said after a pause. "It was an honor to catch Rivers' first touchdown."
Rivers ended his day going 5-for-8 for 33 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He did have the fumble but recovered it. His quarterback rating was a surprising 110.9 for the game.
Despite those "gaudy" numbers, Rivers looked and played the part of a rookie. He was everything a first year quarterback should be in his first action. A little unsure, a little off-the-mark and a little pumped up with adrenaline.
"I didn't play great and made some mistakes but whenever you can do that and get your first touchdown pass and hang on for the win, you can find a lot of positives. It is a lot easier to correct the negatives when you win."
"Philip (Rivers) did about what I expected," added head coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Rivers made some mistakes, learned from that during the game and eventually led the team to a scoring drive.
Doug Flutie made the decision easy on who would be the number two quarterback in the playoffs but Rivers made the coaching staff believe he can assimilate himself into the offense and be effective.
His progress through the game was evident and for the Chargers, they couldn't ask for much more out of their first round draft pick at this stage of the season.
"It wasn't so much nervousness," the rookie slinger said of his day. "Excited to be in the game and then just felt like it had been awhile. It was back getting acquainted with the live action. It took a couple of series to get going. I was starting to feel good late in the game."
Rivers shakes off rookie rust
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