Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers wasn't the main reason why his team got trounced by the New England Patriots in Sunday's AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Gillette Stadium, but his lackluster performance in the 41-28 loss certainly was a factor.
Rivers was ineffective most of the game, especially in the first half when the Pats jumped out to a 35-7 halftime lead. It wasn't until garbage time in the fourth quarter did Rivers and the Chargers passing attack find any sort of consistency. The veteran quarterback also looked rattled and not focused enough throughout the afternoon. Rivers seemed to be letting his frustration get the best of him, and a lot of that involved yelling at the officials for what he thought were penalties going uncalled.
"He was trying to get a flag every other play for something," Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower said on NBC Sports Boston's "Monday Night Patriots." "I guess that's just part of how my dawg goes about it. He’s a great competitor, man, and he fought all the way down to the end. Brought those guys back with a couple of late score touchdowns. But all in all, hats off to Phil. He’s still a great competitor.”
The Patriots defense gave one of its best performances of the season versus the Bolts. The unit tallied two sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and allowed just 19 rushing yards. It's hard to blame Rivers for being frustrated since the Pats were in his face on many plays, including the ones in the videos below.
Last one. More middle pressure. Again with the “Amoeba” look. Flowers and Simon flush left. Hightower fills in behind. Rivers completes the throw but is well short of the first down. Another punt coming. pic.twitter.com/q7xVH1hago— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) January 14, 2019
“Amoeba” look here to generate pressure up the middle again. Van Noy and Flowers clear space for Simon and Hightower to get up the gut. Rivers doesn’t move off his spot, but the throw is out early and inaccurate. Result: another punt. pic.twitter.com/naixubzLI5— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) January 14, 2019
It was the type of effort that should give the Patriots defense a lot of confidence entering Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Patriots gave up 40 points and a lot of big plays to the Chiefs during a Week 6 win at Gillette Stadium. A similar performance Sunday likely would result in the end of the Patriots' season. They need to frustrate Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as much as they did Rivers.
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