Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers says “there was never a lack of composure” during his team’s 41-28 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
“I think sometimes my demonstrative movements may look that way, but I was just poised as could be,” Rivers told reporters. “The whole time.”
As the Patriots continued to pile on the points in the first half, Rivers appeared increasingly agitated at the stagnant production from his team and the lack of calls from the officiating crew. He endured seven hits and two sacks, often griping to the referee upon picking himself up from the turf. While Rivers claimed otherwise, Patriots defensive end Adam Butler, who was responsible for one of the quarterback hits, said it was clear the 37-year-old was rattled.
“300-pound guy running clean at you unblocked?” Butler said. “I mean, come on, I think we’d all be frustrated with that.”
Though he acknowledged “a little bit” of extra emotions came out at the end, Rivers maintained his fieriness didn’t affect his play.
“That’s part of it,” he said. “That’s the way I play my best.”
The Chargers found themselves in a deep hole heading into halftime trailing 35-7, but Rivers said he thought the team still fought to the final second. Los Angeles did outscore New England, 21-6, in the second half.
“It doesn’t count for much at this point, but in the big scheme of things, it counts a heck of a lot,” said Rivers, who finished with 331 passing yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. “We’re never going to quit. I don’t care what the score is. We’re going to play until that last second ticks to zero.”
Rivers attributed the Patriots’ success to the simple fact that “they just played better.” Though he admitted, in hindsight, it would have been preferable to play in 65-degree weather on their home turf, he wielded neither the travel nor New England’s additional week of rest as excuses.
“They just outplayed us,” he said. “They just outplayed us.”
The Patriots will face the Chargers’ divisional foe, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the AFC Championship next Sunday. Rivers said he’ll watch the game at home with his family. Based on the pair’s first meeting back in October — a 43-40 Patriots win — Rivers is expecting a high-scoring outing that he hopes never ends.
“I hope they play for about three days,” he said. “Really, I hope it lasts three days and they finally just call it a draw.”