Rivers: It's Been a Rollercoaster Ride

See what San Diego's young star had to say about the Chargers up-and-down season, the challenge his team faces against the Colts, interacting with the Indianapolis fans, breaking Dan Fouts' records, and more!

On winning three consecutive divisional titles and this one being a little bit unusual:

"It was. It's been a rollercoaster ride. It's been somewhat of a tough year, really. The last four weeks, obviously, have been good, but a lot of tough losses, a lot of close games. There were a lot of games where the game was decided just about at the buzzer, and those are tough, one of them being with the Colts. We fought through it and it's maybe one of the most gratifying division championships, I guess, because of the way we kept fighting, and even though it's at 8-8, the resiliency we showed and the fight and character. We had to hang tight and keep battling and obviously needed help from Denver, but the way we played these last four weeks, we feel like we're a team deserving to get in and obviously we know we're going to have our hands full this week."

On not knowing how things would turn out for the team despite his individual play improving from a season ago:

"I played at a more consistent level throughout the year. I still had some key mistakes in some games that really hurt us, a couple of turnovers here or there in crucial moments in some of these close games, because every game has been so close. I guess all eight losses are 36 points total or something. I feel like I have played better but I still have hurt us in some situations. And again, we've lost to a lot of good teams. You look back to who we lost to, Colts included, Pittsburgh, Miami, we're talking about some teams that are obviously in the playoffs and they're playing well. So it's been one of those years where the record doesn't show it completely, but we feel like we're a good, solid team that has a chance."

On his fiery personality and interaction with the fans last year in Indianapolis:

"I just play the game and have a lot of fun. As you picture a 10-year old in the back yard down in North Alabama where I grew up, I kind of play it the same way, where you're going back and forth with your buddies and you're playing. I kind of have that same mentality, obviously with a little more structure and at a lot higher of a level. Speaking of the fans back there, there's really nothing of any tenacity between any of it. It was really fun, playing with a lot of fun. You got the guys behind you that give it to you all game, every time Peyton (Manning) throws a completion and says, ‘That's how you do it right there.' So you're kind of interacting with these guys for three-and-a-half hours. I think the thing I did learn there, though, is you're not going to win. So I've left that part of it alone. But as far as playing with passion and emotion, I think it works to my benefit as long as it works to our team's benefit, as long as it's a positive. I never want it to come and get in the way of what we're trying to get done."

On Colts fans not being that bad:

"It was a lot of fun. That's what you expect when you go on the road. You have 65-, 70,000 excited fans that are pulling for their team and giving it to the opposing guys a little bit. There was really nothing of any tenacity or anything nasty really going on. It was all what you expect when you go on the road in a tough atmosphere, and I'm sure our fans will be the same this week, as highly excited and fired up for this game on Saturday."

On WR-Vincent Jackson's improvement:

"He's really every year gotten better and better, and he's turned into a big-time receiver, obviously having over 1,000 yards. I think he's right up there at the top of the league for average per catch. He really came on late last year and into the playoffs and this year, he's been nothing but steady. His play has been so consistent. And such a trusting guy, with his route running, with the way he catches the ball. He's obviously a huge force in the run game, such a big guy and presence, and he really takes a lot of pride in blocking and blocking the safeties and doing those things. He was a big key to some of our runs last week against Denver and always is against Indianapolis because obviously we know with Bob Sanders and the way he likes to get down in the box, he's certainly a guy you have to have some wide receivers that are ready to stick their nose in there."

On breaking Dan Fouts' touchdown record, but this weekend and playoffs meaning so much more:

"There's no question. Those things, and speaking of Dan Fouts' record, that's something I'm grateful for and certainly appreciative of, and obviously a lot of guys go into it. Norv (Turner) was kidding me this week and said, ‘You throw more screen passes to Darren (Sproles) and L.T. (LaDainian Tomlinson) and those guys, and Brandon (Manumaleuna), they've made touchdowns for you.' So a lot of guys, obviously the guys up front, have been great all year, too. Those things you appreciate, they do mean a lot, and they'll mean more when the dust settles and you look back and think about the season. But there's no question about it, you play 16 games and in our case it all came down to the last one, but you play 16 games to give yourself a chance in the playoffs. We all know what we're all playing for, each and every year every team is, and it's games like this that are the most meaningful and that you prepare for all year. It comes down to one game, and then hopefully it comes down to another game and then another game. It's familiar territory for the Colts, being in it just about every year, and we've been in it now three of the last four. A good matchup with them last year and I'd expect more of the same. With the way the game is, it'll come down to the end."

On the game at Kansas City and almost not getting where they are:

"Yes, we talked about it as recent as yesterday just thinking, ‘Man, look back at Kansas City how that game turned out.' We were pretty much dead in that game and all this, we'd never (had the opportunity). But guys never quit. Guys believed, ‘We're going to get the onside kick.' And Mike (Scifres) put a good ball up there and then guys were fighting to go get it. You're holding your breath and you see the guy jump to catch it, you kind of are already headed into the tank and then you see it squirt out and it was pretty clear our guys had gotten it. Then you feel like, ‘Hey, we have three timeouts left. A minute-and-fifteen, we're fixing to go win this thing,' and we were able to go finish it off."

On facing the Colts' defense with Freeney and without:

"Certainly it is different. I tell you now, though, now there's two, three of them. You throw (Robert) Mathis in there and (Raheem) Brock and those guys, there's so many of those guys you feel like they're coming from everywhere. But certainly the force Freeney has been over his career and the force he is, there certainly is a difference when he's in and when he's not in. We did a pretty good job the last time playing these guys. I turned the ball over once, I think it was Mathis getting there when I was kind of careless with the ball. And that's their whole deal. They're such a, I don't want to say vanilla or simple, necessarily, they're to a point. There's no secrets: ‘Here we are, this is what we like to play defensively and we're going to play it so sound that you're going to have to drive it 80 yards. We're not going to give up a big play, and then hopefully we're going to get a turnover, a sack-fumble or you're going to throw us an interception.' And then obviously they're offense is so good that if they can get a lead, they're tough. It's certainly a challenge, one that we've handled pretty well. We've played them now, it seems like a bunch the past four or five years, and it's going to come down to the wire like I mentioned earlier."


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