“The Phumble” turns AFC West race around

AP

Philip Rivers stood on the sideline watching the Chiefs’ final drive Monday night, just starting to fully realize that this was a game, a mistake he would never forget.

“Worst day ever,” Rivers mouthed to no one in particular.

That was before Rivers watched Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop split the uprights in overtime to complete a wild 23-20 overtime victory that changed the entire complexion of the AFC West.

Just minutes before Rivers said those words, it looked like he would be celebrating a terrific fourth quarter comeback. San Diego, led by running back Curtis Brinkley of all people, was in position to run the clock out before attempting a short field goal to win the game.  And then Rivers fumbled a snap with under a minute remaining.

This was the Miracle at Arrowhead.  (Seriously, we need a nickname for this play. We’re rolling with “The Phumble” for now. Leave your ideas in the comments.)

Unlike Joe Pisarcik back in 1978, Rivers got a chance to make amends with a possession in overtime.  The Chargers won the coin toss, but Tamba Hali sacked Rivers to help force a three and out.

Hali had an incredible night. He recorded two sacks and helped to force Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill into at least six penalties.  For so much of the night, this game was about the Chiefs young core of defensive stars (Hali, cornerback Brandon Flowers, and linebacker Derrick Johnson) making more plays than the San Diego offense.

All we’ll remember years from now is Rivers’ fumble.  It was his third turnover on a night where Rivers overcome serious accuracy woes. Despite the problems, Rivers made a number of critical throws in the fourth quarter, often on the move, to put his team in position to win.

It looked like it would be a season-defining win for the Chargers. They weren’t crisp on offense, but they were on their way to “winning ugly” again. They had a chance to bury the Chiefs in the standings. (A two game lead with the tiebreaker.)

Instead, the Chargers’ season is just starting to look ugly.

San Diego is 4-3, in a three-way tie atop the division, and have to host the Packers Sunday in San Diego.  The Chiefs, meanwhile, have won four straight and get to host the Dolphins and Broncos the next two weeks.

This doesn’t look like one of Norv Turner’s better Chargers teams.  The defense is ordinary, and Rivers doesn’t seem right.

It would be easy to ignore all that if Rivers hadn’t Phumbled.  But he did, and it’s a play no one in the AFC West is going to forget all season.  Especially Rivers.

135 responses to ““The Phumble” turns AFC West race around

  1. so let me say it again in case if you fans havent gotten it. this game made me look like a fool, because i was recording this game on VCR and when matt cassel threw that interception and after they got points off of it (3 points) i stopped the tape right after the chiefs drive stalled because san diego was getting momentum, this is was a totally unacceptable game, i am not happy about it!

  2. Well you can’t blame it on a slow start this time around. I’m sure you’ll hear from Charger fans telling us how great they are at finishing the season. If you’re so great finishing the season, why are you noted as the “One and done” Chargers when the playoffs comes around?

  3. Looks like its Norv Turner’s turn for the hot seat. WTF was he thinking by not kicking a field goal before The Phumble?

    Give Todd Haley credit. He’s kept a lot of young players focused after a start that still ranks among the worst ever seen in the NFL and after losing three key players to injury.

  4. .500 coming up next week.

    Too bad the fade play the Tebows next sunday, we could be a game up. Oh well.

  5. This was an exciting game. Very was fun to watch.

    Sometimes…you remember why you liked the game to begin with. Great plays, unexpected moments. Just terrific. I genuinely didn’t care who won. I’m not a fan or hater of either team. I’m just glad I tuned in.

  6. This has been one hell of a coaching job by Todd Haley this season. Now, if they take Miami and Denver seriously, they could be at 6-3 going to New England for SNF.

    No man on earth thought that would be possible after that start.

  7. Undrafted Romo gets crucified, fourth overall pick Rivers gets a pat on the back and a whole roll of Lifesavers.

  8. Watching the chargers made me realize that Manuski’s defense was a big factor in our near loses last year. It felt like Déjà vu watching the chargers playing prevent defense in the end and missing tackles at critical moments.

  9. iambadkid says:
    Nov 1, 2011 1:19 AM
    so let me say it again in case if you fans havent gotten it. this game made me look like a fool, because i was recording this game on VCR and when matt cassel threw that interception and after they got points off of it (3 points) i stopped the tape right after the chiefs drive stalled because san diego was getting momentum, this is was a totally unacceptable game, i am not happy about it!

    VCR? Were you too busy on your bag phone, talking to your friends on AOL Instant Messenger, while while listening to your favorite cassettes to go get a DVR?

  10. First off, I would like to thank Philip Rivers…Thank you Philip. Second, we have two games coming up that should be wins. The Chiefs deserve to celebrate their fourth straight win tonight. That said, they have to remember the next two teams they are plaing are still professionals and will come ready to play, just like the Rams did against the Saints. I have faith Haley won’t let them get too full of themselves. Keep it up Chiefs.

  11. Seemed unlikely a few seasons ago but I’m beginning to think Phillip Rivers will never win a Superbowl, ever.

  12. Rivers looks right to me: Crapped the bed in another big game.

    Quit making excuses for this overrated meat head. He plays in the weakest division in football and warm weather evey year and hasn’t won dick.

    Trash talking doesn’t make you elite, it makes you an assclown when you don’t win anything.

  13. Andy Studebaker.. yes, he IS a decendant of the old automobile manufacturer, is the one who recovered the fumble which led to KC winning.

    Hence, “The Studebaker Revival.”

  14. I know it’s exciting for KC fans but let’s get real.

    The miraculous KC turnaround will turn around again starting week 11 most likely. Pats, Steelers, the dangerous but inconsistent Bears – then some possible relief courtesy of the Jets – and then Green Bay.

    Really, if that mediocre San Diego team hadn’t self destructed,…

  15. >WTF was he thinking by not kicking a field goal before The Phumble

    This game featured some of the worst end of period game management ever. Haley piddled and fiddled and put possession at risk needlessly twice during the game too. Lucky he didn’t get burned.

    If fans can see something’s unwise why can’t HCs?

  16. Classic San Diego Chicken’s er, Chargers.
    Classic Phil (The Phumble) Rivers.
    Classic definition of a choke artist.

    This guy is celebrated as one of the best quarterbacks in the league and yet he has failed to deliver in far too many critical moments.

  17. iambadkid says:
    Nov 1, 2011 1:19 AM
    so let me say it again in case if you fans havent gotten it. this game made me look like a fool, because i was recording this game on VCR and when matt cassel threw that interception and after they got points off of it (3 points) i stopped the tape right after the chiefs drive stalled because san diego was getting momentum, this is was a totally unacceptable game, i am not happy about it!
    ———————————————————-
    VCR? Did I wake up in 1987?

  18. I am not a fan of either team, but for the always irrelevant Chiefs to smack talk after one victory, is a joke….just like their franchise…..your coach is a tool…..America’s joke team…..

  19. I know Rivers has an unorthodox throwing motion, but does anyone else besides me think he is hiding a shoulder problem this season? Against the Jets, it looked like he was barely pushing the ball down the field…

  20. iambadkid says:Nov 1, 2011 1:19 AM

    “so let me say it again in case if you fans haven’t gotten it. this game made me look like a fool, because i was recording this game on VCR”…
    ———————————————————-

    seriously though, it is entirely possible you are the only person on the planet still using a VCR.

  21. Good thing rivers wasn’t responsible for receiving any of his 6 kids when his wife was giving birth he woulda phumbled the baby.. he’s not that good of a qb.. his release has no zip on it looks like hes shoving it out there rather than throwing it seems to just flutter

  22. Oxymoron – Norv Turner’s better Charger teams. Get rid of Turner and you have an instant SB contender. It’s Turner who makes a great team a pretty good one!

  23. iambadkid says: Nov 1, 2011 1:19 AM

    so let me say it again in case if you fans havent gotten it. this game made me look like a fool, because i was recording this game on VCR and when matt cassel threw that interception and after they got points off of it (3 points) i stopped the tape right after the chiefs drive stalled because san diego was getting momentum, this is was a totally unacceptable game, i am not happy about it!

    ————–

    VCR? Tape?

    Hint: It’s not the game that makes you look like a fool.

  24. Once again, SD is one of the most over-rated teams in the NFL. Every year is supposed to be the year SD finally does something, and every year they manage to choke it.

    Rivers has a lot of Romo in him, especially in the post season.

  25. grizzlybear34 says: Nov 1, 2011 6:34 AM

    I know Rivers has an unorthodox throwing motion, but does anyone else besides me think he is hiding a shoulder problem this season? Against the Jets, it looked like he was barely pushing the ball down the field…
    ************************************************
    I agree completely, it looks like he’s playing with some type of shoulder injury.

    As for the Chargers, it’s plain as day that this team is on the downside.

    They were more talented than the rest of the division for years, not anymore.

  26. Can the “experts” including those at PFT please stop crowning the Chargers SB champs at the begining of every season now? Chargers,Chargers, Rivers,Rivers! Every effin” year that is all we hear. Look this is the same dysfunctional franchise that Eli refused to go to. Can you stop hyping them up untill they at least do something?

  27. Clearly the Chargers need to dump Philip Rivers and send a couple of $#1’s to Denver for Tim Tebow. We’ve all heard that Tebow “wants it more” and “works harder” than anyone else in the league. Plus, he’s a “winner” who has the magical power to “will” HIS teams to victory in the 4th quarter. TEBOW! TEBOW! TEBOW! The answer to every question.

  28. Philip Romo does it again.

    Thank You K.C. for putting us on 1st place. 3 team tie.

    Palmer doesn’t need to throw 300 yds a game for the Raiders to win, McFadden is key.. he opens up the offense. And yes, he’s healthy..

    expect Tebow to be benched after the loss in Oakland. Giving Orton vs KC. Denver wins. Raiders Will take 1st after next Thur.

    Early prediction.. Dolphins shock the world and beat the “can’t get a 1st down” Chiefs.

  29. Instead of the “Phumble” you could just call it what it is, and what it has been every year. The “Chargers have always sucked, suck right now and will forever suck in the future. Eagles of the West.”

  30. ” “Cry me a River”. Or, “It’s Howdy-doody time”. Hey, genius fan, are you playing the Raiders this season?Be afraid.”

    The Chiefs have already BEAT the faiders.

  31. “All we’ll remember years from now is Rivers’ fumble.”

    Years from now no one will remember anything about this game because it was a game in week 8 of the regular season that lead to a three way tie amongst three mediocre teams in the division.

    If this were the playoffs or with the division on the line, different story.

  32. The Chargers have never lived up to the hype, in fact I dont think anyone in that division could win a playoff game

  33. Kind of a moot point now, but why didn’t Haley challenge the reception by Brinkley which set up the tying touchdown. To me it looked like it hit the ground and that he never had possession.

  34. If you watch the gif of it out there online…

    It’s definitely “that was the worst thing ever” the whole sentence, including “that was the” part.

    Focus on the key word too “thing vs day”. Watch your own lips/tongue saying ‘thing’ vs ‘day’.

    Day: your tongue stays hidden behind teeth and your face/lips make more of an effort, like a smile almost. Your lower jaw drops downwards.

    Thing: your tongue moves between the teeth and then your lower jaw drops backwards.

    Plus, logically, it makes more sense for him to “that was the worst THING ever”, as he’d be referring to that instant itself.

  35. Chiefs on a 4 game winning streak? Who would have thought? Don’t talk too much crap Chiefs fans…your team won’t be able to get through the wild card in the playoffs.

  36. This is not supposed to be a pun or funny, but what I saw Rivers say is “worst D ever” it makes more sense as well because they were getting run over by the KC backs at the time.

  37. The officials in this league suck!

    Last week a defensive PI that didnt happen.

    This week an offensive PI that didnt happen.

    Even the commentators, who know that its dangerous to bite the hand that feeds them, were totally perplexed.

    Its one thing to miss a quick call. Its another thing to make things up that just didnt happen. This league is a joke.

  38. Thank you very much, Sandy Eggo, for leaving the door open for my Raiders.

    That Rivers fumble was inexcusable. I spun it back and forth on my DVR I was so stunned.

    Once again, thanks. Go Raiders!

  39. Great win for the Chiefs, crazy-unlikely outcome for a game I thought was done, and caps a great week for MO sports (Cards, MU Tigers, Rams, Chiefs all successful in unlikely wins).

  40. I really hope aj smith is starting to realize what a terrible decision hiring norv turner was. This team has regressed every year since he was hired, while having more talent on the roster than a lot of their division counterparts. I think the redskins and raiders realized their mistakes sooner.

  41. @raider23mike – KC didn’t put the Raiders in a tie for first place – they made sure you didn’t own it. Seem to remember the Raiders going down 28-0 at home to KC. Want to cry about your injuries? KC had just as many key injured players out. Also seem to remember 14 Raider penalties for 120 yards – that’s essentially giving a touchdown away.

    Win ‘key games’ and keep your game losing penalties under control if you want to talk trash.

    No legs, right now, I’m afraid.

    While I’m a Chiefs fan, what I want to see is a dominant team from our division go to compete. And yet again, none of our teams can contend.

  42. Hey iambadkid,
    Page me later, I will ride my scooter to your house and we will watch that recorded game on your vcr. Oh wait, do you have a black and white tv?

  43. >Years from now no one will remember anything about this game because it was a game in week 8 of the regular season that lead to a three way tie amongst three mediocre teams in the division.

    Point taken. But after hearing Esiason and Dilfer go megaton nuclear on Rivers (“You learn that when you’re 12!”), I’d bet it makes one of the NFL’s Top Ten bonehead whatever productions.

  44. Instead of Phumble try Thumble. Since his thumb was closed in his hand for whatever reason causing the fumble to begin with.

    That was the most ridiculous ending i may have ever seen. It cost me a victory in fantasy with my opponant having Dwayne Bowe and him getting and extra 20 plus yards after that. I was pissed. Thank goodness i traded Rivers and V-Jax weeks ago, man is he having issues. First he starts off awful, then he plays great, then he has the most inexcusable fumble ever. “What is wrong with Phillip Rivers” should be the next PFT topic.

  45. rajuncajun28 says:
    Nov 1, 2011 6:26 AM
    I am not a fan of either team, but for the always irrelevant Chiefs to smack talk after one victory, is a joke….just like their franchise…..your coach is a tool…..America’s joke team…..

    Actually – I’m pretty sure the Chiefs have won 4 straight…

  46. Years from now no one will remember anything about this game because it was a game in week 8 of the regular season that lead to a three way tie amongst three mediocre teams in the division.

    Wrong. If this were a random game on Sunday afternoon maybe. But it was a Monday Night game against two division rivals. A random football fan might remember. But Chargers and Chiefs fans will likely point to this game for several years to come, just because running smack on division rivals is fun. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

  47. No other coach is as adept at taking a talent laden team and inspiring underachievement the way Turner does. He hasn’t been a good HC any place he’s been. The guy is STILL riding the wave of success as a coordinator for the Cowboys and the Triplets. I keep wondering when the national sports media is going to stop polishing his knob and call it for what it is…

    Norv Turner is a LOUSY head coach that fields mentally soft teams prone to collapse in the clutch.

  48. NO cute nickname. Half the country didn’t watch this game because it was an AFC West Division rivalry and this game wasn’t a playoff game and neither team is going to the Super Bowl.

    Also a lot of people still use VCR to record then transport video to another VCR. DVR is great as long as you want to watch the same program over and over in your OWN home.

  49. Hali Goes to the ground and sort of elbow crawls before getting to Rivers legs for the sack.

    Is this not a penalty? This rule has been called so inconsistently since its inception. Can someone please explain this to me?

    The cherry on the cap of a horrible evening of officiating.

  50. I am not a fan of either team, but for the always irrelevant Chiefs to smack talk after one victory, is a joke….just like their franchise…..your coach is a tool…..America’s joke team…..

    oh who’s your team cajon? Probably the Saints cause their built RAM tough.

  51. We have seen some pretty messy football this year. How can you mess up that bad and call yourself a professional athlete. My Vikes finally caught a break but another example of how ordinary the NFL is becoming. Touchback after touchback, I”m losing interest.

  52. Its amazing that the Chiefs have actually won four games. When you watch them you know that they are not a very good team and then the Detroit and Buffalo games come to mind. They will win the next two games, but only to get stomped by the Pats, Packers and Jets. This team has zero chance of winning the division. Lets get real.

  53. Meahwhile back in New York, Eli has a slight smile on his face as he carefully dunks another oreo into a tall glass of milk while watching as Norv’s ineptitude as a head coach continues to slowly erode a Charger team that was once a legitimate Superbowl contender.

  54. The Chargers were really talented a few years ago when Rivers, Gates, LT, Lorenzo Neal, a roided-up Merriman and others were at the top of their game.

    Now there’s no LT, no Merriman, no LoNeal, Gates is banged up. Rivers isn’t performing like himself for whatever reason. I’ll concede that Vincent Jackson is definitely good. But who else do they have that’s even above average on the entire roster right now?

    The idea that this is a “talented” team is pure fiction.

    Raiders are far and away the most talented team in the division and arguably the AFC. The question and determining factor for them will be how quickly can Carson Palmer get up to speed. With that said, he can’t be worse than Cassel or whoever Denver props up out there. If you look at the talent across the board, QBs aside, Raiders blow away KC, SD and Denver. I don’t think anyone would even debate against that.

  55. I think the play by play guys got the lip reading wrong. Rivers Said, “That was the worst THING ever”

    — your welcome

  56. Now i am getting worried that even the bronco’s might beat us the way rivers is giving the ball away. I feel like we are going back to the 90’s where we finished last place every year.

  57. Sorry, I’m still LOL’g at the dude at the top for saying he was “recording the game on his VCR”……hell yes!!!!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What I want to know is was he recording it in Black & White or Color

  58. Im completely sick to my stomach and broken hearted over the choke job by the Chargers and Rivers.

    You jabrones act like Peyton and Brady have never choked in the playoffs or in clutch games. That being said what Rivers did was mindnumbingly stupid and i still can’t get my head around it. That still being said i’d take Rivers over most of the QB’s in this league and he’s having the absolute worst season of his career.

    As a San Diego native, Philip Rivers is everything that the Chargers are, just like the franchise he knows how to choke in the crucial moments, not a joke, just observation.

    Rivers is still my favorite Charger to watch, so suck it

  59. Score of my fantasy game before fumble: 119-114. Score after Rivers fumble and Weddle Interception: 117-121. You’re pathetic Phillip. Consider yourself benched.

  60. Sorry, but Rivers may have dropped the snap at a crucial time, but I also consider the horrible pass protection by RT #66 Cleary because he was like a revolving door at a Macy’s White Sale. Turnstiles at Penn Station offer more resistance than Cleary did on his pass protection for the majority of the game. He cannot bend, got bull rushed continually by anybody the Chiefs lined up opposite him and did not even attempt to help Rivers off the ground after his protection assignment went around him and drilled Rivers more than once.

    Chargers have lots of issues, including Rivers, but responsibility for this loss, although everybody is focusing on the dropped snap because it occurred in the final minutes of the game when the Chargers had a shot at a FG to win, falls on far more shoulders than just Rivers.

  61. I noticed something peculiar last night. Call it a trend. The NFC West is dominated by teams with QB’s who have a “quirky” throwing motion. Rivers, Cassel and Tebow. I mention Tebow because he dominates the Airwaves and PR. But his passing motion is no less unconventional than either of the other 2 QB’s. Yet they don’t get criticized by the experts and analysts. Oakland has QBs with picture perfect motion in Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller. An injured Jaso Campbell doesn’t count. But PP may not equal playoffs for the Raiders. And Ben Roethlesberger is as unconventional as they get. I guess what I’m saying is what’s the big deal with Tebow? This division is tailor made for him.

  62. I was playing my 9-year old son in fantasy football and had a 2-point lead. He had the SD kicker and Rivers. We both watched happily as the Chargers moved into position for the field goal that would win the game for them and my son (I really wanted him to win). What a great story he’ll have for years to come.

  63. I am so tired of watching my Chargers lay egg after egg after egg after egg under Norv. This man is not fit to be a head coach and needs to be fired immediately!

  64. I’m a Chiefs season ticket holder and what we saw last night should in no way make anyone on the Chiefs side talk any smack. The Chiefs offense was largely ineffective. The Chargers offense as well. The Chiefs looked a little better on defense but nothing to make one think they could do anything in the playoffs if they would happen to win the division. I also agree with leftcoastnative about the Chargers. More than just Phillip Rivers to be worried about and more than just Phillip Rivers to blame for the loss.

  65. “This doesn’t look like one of Norv Turner’s better Chargers teams”
    __________________________
    The problem is that the best Norv Turner Chargers were actually Marty Schottenheimer Chargers. Norv Turner and Wade Phillips are basically the same coach (with the exception being that Turner is offensive minded and Phillips defensive minded). They are brought in to take over teams with really good rosters and rack up wins early on, but never seem to get over the hump. Then, as they start to lose players brought in and coached up by the previous regimes, the teams end up weaker as the holes in the roster are filled with less talented players or those players aren’t coached up as well. Let’s face it, the Chargers haven’t been a great team for a while now. They simply got a free pass into the playoffs because their division was so bad. They have more competition now, and all of those lapses they were able to overcome in the past are biting them in the behind now.

  66. Last year Rivers had some of the best stats of any quarterback ever. He threw to 17 different receivers – for the most part a bunch of nobodies and basically carried the team by himself. This year he is off and feels the pressure to repeat last year’s performance. Maybe he’s hurt or just loosing it ( still better than whining Eli). Contrary to all the hype, the chargers are among the least talented teams in the division – just slightly better than the Broncos with Tebow.

    The Chargers get worse every year under Norv Turner but management obviously likes the guy . As a San Diego native and lifelong Chargers fan the best chance for a ring would be to can Turner and move the franchise to LA and for Spanos to sell the team to someone who wants to win.

  67. therolandobottom says:
    Nov 1, 2011 10:40 AM
    Its amazing that the Chiefs have actually won four games. When you watch them you know that they are not a very good team and then the Detroit and Buffalo games come to mind. They will win the next two games, but only to get stomped by the Pats, Packers and Jets. This team has zero chance of winning the division. Lets get real.

    The division? I’ll take you up on that one…

    They just beat the 2 other teams who have a chance at the division, should easily win the next 2 games with the Fish and Broncos, as you’ve said, and can possibly beat the Bears, Jets, Raiders and Broncs (again). That would be 10 wins. And with the way Oak and SD are playing, I say 9-7 can possibly win the division if they own the tiebreakers.

    So – winning the division – yes. Anything beyond that – I doubt it.

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