Philip Rivers, QB, of the San Diego Chargers poses a significant challenge for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense tomorrow afternoon at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Rivers who was considered for offensive player of the year is leading his team to a strong finish down the stretch.
For the 2008 NFL season, Rivers has racked up quite the statistics with over 65% completion percentage, 34 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and boasts a quarterback rating of 105.5. Based on these statistics alone, Rivers can make a strong case for offensive player of the year considering that he matched the same touchdowns as Drew Brees, but threw 6 less interceptions. Most of this weeks media has been geared towards LT, and Sproles, but the Steelers must not get caught up in the media hype. The Chargers real star of the year lies in the hands of their quarterback.
To put Philip Rivers great season into prospective, let’s compare his 2008 stats with Ben Roethlisberger’s 2007 pro bowl year. In 2007, Big Ben posted a completion percentage of 65.3%, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a QB rating of 104.1. These statistics are almost identical to Rivers. Steelers fans know the great year that Big Ben had, so it’s not very difficult to see that Rivers has had his career year thus far.
However, Rivers struggled in his last meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers top ranked defense by going 15-26 for 164 yards and two interceptions.
Expect Dick Lebeau to dial up blitzes heavily on Rivers and force him into making inaccurate reads and bad decisions. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are coming off some much needed rest and I expect them to get to Rivers early and often in this matchup. Add that to Pittsburgh weather conditions of win, snow (6-8 inches) and a rabid Steeler fan base, I say .. advantage, Steelers.