The Chargers are 9-0 outside of L.A. this year. But quarterback Philip Rivers is 0-7 against Tom Brady, whose team is 8-0 at home this season. So, basically, something’s gotta give.
Yes, Rivers has never beaten Brady. The veteran San Diego/L.A. signal-caller has beaten the Patriots only once in his career, a 30-10 win during 2008, when Brady was out with a torn ACL. Every other time the two teams have played since Rivers became the starter in 2006, the Patriots have won.
That fact was news to Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
“I was not aware of that,” Lynn told New England reporters when asked on Wednesday to react to Rivers’ run of futility vs. Brady. “But that’s in the past. That’s what I think about. It’s in the past. We have an opportunity to do it on Sunday so let’s make the most out of it.”
Rivers shrugged at the reality that he’s never gotten the better of Brady.
“It’s not something you think about a whole lot,” Rivers told New England reporters. “It exists and it’s there but again, and I mean this, I don’t feel that I’m playing Tom. Certainly it’s a Tom Brady-led team and we know how things work with the quarterback and the head coach that have the record attached to it. We’ve got a heck of a challenge, our offense, going against that defense and how disciplined they play and how well they play especially this time of year. We’ve got our work cut out on that side of the ball. Yeah, I think you’re aware of that stat that is out there but it’s not something that I spend much time thinking about.”
Two of the losses came in playoffs games, in consecutive years. In 2007, the Patriots got their last win of an 18-1 season by beating the Chargers to get to the Super Bowl. The prior year, the Chargers seemed destined to get to the Super Bowl, with a 14-2 record.
Leading by eight in the fourth quarter, Chargers defensive back Marlon McCree intercepted Brady to seemingly clinch a victory. And then McCree fumbled the ball, the Patriots recovered, they tied the game, and they won it with a late field goal.
This could be the best Chargers team since the 14-2 season, but New England is never easy to beat at home. In what will be one of their last meetings, Rivers’ chances of getting to his first Super Bowl now hinge on getting his first career win over arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, at a time when Father Time could be poised to make a strong kick to the finish line.