INDIANAPOLIS – Down 21-0 and with the Colts Twitter mentions ready to explode, Frank Reich felt like he had no other option but to put the game on the shoulders of his quarterback.
In the week that Philip Rivers actually read stories with many questioning whether he should continue to be the starting quarterback, it was up to him to lead the Colts out of such a hellacious start, even though the QB had done virtually nothing to put them into such a position.
Rivers in obvious passing situations needing to lead a comeback?
The odds seemed slim.
But then Rivers put together one of the greatest single quarter performances you will ever see.
With the Colts trailing 21-0, Rivers went 14-of-21 for 233 yards in Sunday’s second quarter. He led the following three touchdown drives to get the Colts right back in the game before halftime:
-7 plays, 87 yards, touchdown
-9 plays, 80 yards, touchdown
-9 plays, 82 yards, touchdown
“Philip was in a zone,” Frank Reich said after the Colts completed the 21-point comeback, with the vast majority of the heavy lifting going to the 38-year-old quarterback. “You could feel it. You could see it. It just felt like any pass we were going to call he was going to find a way to make a play.
“I was going to put in his hands at that point…It felt like Philip carried us.”
It was Reich labeling Rivers’ pinpoint accuracy as the quarterback’s greatest strength when the Colts signed him back in March.
That attribute was seen throughout Sunday’s second quarter run.
Rivers’ ball placement was tremendous outside the numbers, and over the top, giving the Colts more than hope.
The comment has been written before, that Rivers attempts (and can complete) passes that the Colts did not try last season.
Sunday was another example, albeit, in a much more positive way.
Rivers, who was protected very well throughout the comeback part of the game, wasn’t afraid to try stretch the field, and the Colts benefited from that.
In going 29-of-44 for 371 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception on Sunday, Rivers had an impressive 7 passes of at least 20 yards.
While the Colts had struggled mightily situationally entering Week Six, the Colts changed that narrative against the Bengals, going 7-of-11 on third down and 4-of-4 in the red zone.
The Rivers seen on Sunday is why sticking with him as your starter gives the Colts a chance in such games.
This won’t be anywhere close to the norm, but Rivers is capable of doing something like this, whereas the team’s other QB options cannot. Sticking with Rivers gives them a higher ceiling then turning to others.
With 9 kids at home, it’s more than understandable Rivers not having the time, nor desire, to read a bunch of stories about his play.
This past week was different though.
Rivers wanted to read it.
“I made the decision last week, I’m going to read. I want to read what they wrote,” an animated Rivers said after the Colts moved to 4-2 on the year. “That comes with it. You stink it up, they better write, ‘Rivers better get with it.’
“Not to be motivational, I just kind of wanted to see…I felt like all you guys were pretty dang honest.”
Honestly, on this Sunday, Rivers was the biggest reason why the Colts will enter their bye with the fresh taste of victory.