Rivers Sees the Silver Lining

The Chargers were one 3-yard gain away from a winning record and a week filled with more accolades than angst. Instead, Philip Rivers overthrew Vincent Jackson with 2:30 left on the clock and set the Chargers up with a rare must-win game in September. The fourth-year pro is confident that Sunday's misfire will have the team firing on all cylinders by season's end.

There was a lot to like about Philip Rivers' performance against the Green Bay Packers. Set completed a career-high 15 consecutive passes. The threw for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards for the second time in his career, with the other occasion being last season's wild 49-41 comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

More importantly, he finally got his wide receivers involved. Vincent Jackson caught six balls for 98 yards and beautiful 27-yard touchdown in front of former franchise player Charles Woodson. Davis caught four passes after failing to net a single reception the previous week. He also scored his first touchdown as a pro.

Although the aforementioned statistics are hardly staggering, they are significant on a team whose starting receivers in 2006, Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker, failed to catch a single touchdown.

However, of all the successful hookups Rivers enjoyed with his young receiving corps, it is one that got away that sticks in his craw.

"We take a lot of pride in finishing games at the end," Rivers said. "Whether it be a four-minute offense, meaning running the ball and milking the clock down, or we're in a situation like yesterday where we have to throw it and it's third down."

The goal is to use Sunday's failure to spawn future success. Rivers blames the failed third-down conversion on being overly cautious, as he tried to throw high to avoid a floating defender who posed no real threat. On the interception, he admittedly forced a ball into traffic instead of throwing it away and buying another opportunity.

Those are two lessons learned for a quarterback still scratching the surface of his potential. Those breakdowns also signaled a loud wake-up call to a stunned team in dire need of one.

"Sometimes you're put in these holes for a reason. Sometimes they're good for you," Rivers said. "I'm not glad we lost. But if we win that game, maybe we lose sight of some of our mistakes, thinking, ‘Well, it didn't beat us today.' Those have been exposed and brought to our attention now, so maybe that will pay off for us."

As rough as first three weeks have been, the Chargers have every opportunity to right the ship in a hurry. The next three games are against divisional foes: at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, on the road against the Denver Broncos and at home against the Oakland Raiders. Should the Chargers sweep that stretch, they will head into their bye week 4-2 and in first place in the AFC West.

"We're not looking ahead but we've got three left before the bye,'" Rivers said. "They're all division games. Two of them are at home. It starts with Kansas City and we're going to be ready."

That news is promising to Chargers fans, who were ready three weeks ago.

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