As he has, Philip Rivers will hop into his pickup truck Sunday morning. He’ll drive, as he has, from Chargers Park to Mission Valley, cruising through various neighborhoods and finally downhill toward the only NFL stadium he’s called home. He will see the usual tailgaters. He will park at the same spot.It won’t be lost on the quarterback, he said Wednesday.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Philip Rivers looked at the 21-point deficit on the scoreboard at halftime and even he wondered whether the San Diego Chargers had it in them to come back. The season depended on it, so Rivers took charge.
He prevailed through a balky back and a sore chest to keep San Diego’s slim playoff chances alive, rallying his team to tie it in the final minute and setting up Nick Novak’s 40-yard field goal nearly 5 minutes into overtime in a 38-35 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night.
For the first time since Jim Harbaugh became their head coach in 2011, the San Francisco 49ers played a meaningless December game in which they had no shot at the playoffs. Eliminated by virtue of their loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, Harbaugh’s team started off strong at home against the San Diego Chargers on Saturday night, playing as if it had nothing to lose, racking up 355 total rushing yards and reverting to the power ground game that had defined it over the last four seasons. The 49ers had a 28-7 halftime lead, and looked for all the world as if they, and not the San Diego Chargers, still had a postseason chance to fight for.