In No. 17 they trust and you got any other ideas?
The Chargers are riding quarterback Philip Rivers arm into Sunday’s game with the Patriots. It’s the first of a regular-season ending, four-game sprint which isn’t meant for the queasy.
But it’s meant for Rivers and your worn 2014 calendar says so.
December is to Rivers what Valentine’s Day is to florists. Rivers eyes the final month like a good kid expecting Santa’s offerings.
Rivers, fresh off orchestrating Sunday’s thriller in Baltimore, saddles up with a 30-6 December mark.
Not quite and we didn’t forget Rivers struggles of November.
But the Chargers (8-4) are leaning on Rivers like a reveler needing support. With the team’s running game hit-and-miss, a pass rush, which is swing-and-miss and a secondary that is second to many, a flowing Rivers is the Chargers’ best weapon.
Especially this season and especially this month.
“Philip is the one that gets hot in December,’’ teammate Malcom Floyd said.
Rivers was never better than Sunday, when the Chargers scored 21 fourth-quarter points to steal a road win. NFL fans in Baltimore hadn’t been this stunned since the Colts backed up the moving vans and high-tailed it for Indianapolis.
With Rivers packing his “A” game, the passing attack is the phase of the Chargers’ game that is humming.
Pass rush? Good luck to that search party. After three sacks in 20 quarters, if seeking heat, it’s not from these cool cats.
With a tepid rush, the back end gets the business end of rivals passes. It’s easy to cringe when Shareece Wright and crew get beat. But with no rush, it’s no contest tracking opposing receivers.
The running game goes as does Ryan Mathews, but he needs helps. The blocking has been suspect and when a team’s on its fifth center in 12 games stuff happens.
But the stuff ain’t hitting the fan because of Rivers. The quarterback with the slow drawl and quick release is why the Chargers have won three straight, after losing three straight, which followed winning five straight.
Straight up, I’m not sure how they’re doing it either.
Well, besides having a quarterback others gaze upon with envy.
It was Rivers’ going 3-1 last December which snapped the Chargers’ three-year skid of missing the playoffs. That pushed his December win total to 30 and since 2006, it’s the most by any quarterback.
No. 2 is the Patriots’ Tom Brady with 28 — and look who’s coming to town Sunday.
“They are all big from here on out,’’ Rivers said. “You never can let your guard down and we are going to have to gear up one more week at a time to play the best in the league.’’
If New England isn’t the Hatfields to the Chargers’ McCoys, it’s close.
The teams have had epic battles of late — that 2007 AFC Championship Game loss still stings. And of yesteryear — you don’t recall the 1963 AFL title tilt when the Chargers demolished the Boston Patriots?
“If you can’t win these, you’re probably not good enough,’’ Rivers said.
The Chargers are better than good, but shy of spectacular. What they possess is a leader in Rivers, and why not follow him?
“I’m just so thankful we have Philip as our quarterback,’’ Floyd said. “We couldn’t do it without Philip.’’
Without question, December is his month.
Without question, he’s the aw-shucks face of this franchise.
“We don’t care what the scoreboard says,’’ Rivers added. “We are just going to play crazy for each other.’’
You’re nuts in doubting Rivers. In a month where belief is king, the Chargers believe Rivers is a gift that keeps on giving.
“That’s why,’’ Floyd said, “he is the best quarterback in the league.’’
Others might disagree. But nobody matches Rivers in saving their best for the year’s last month.
Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports. He talks Chargers football on 1360 AM on Monday mornings at 8.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports