Rivers, considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, committed three turnovers against the Chiefs on Monday, including a costly fumble in the final minute of the game that led to a Chiefs overtime 20-17 win.
Expectations were high for Rivers coming off a great 2010 season where he threw for 4,710 yards, 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But Rivers has already thrown for 11 interceptions and just seven touchdowns this season; and has cost his team wins against the Chiefs and the New York Jets.
Rivers has had his share of breakdowns and bad mistakes in the past, but something seems to be amiss with his current play. Rivers has no reported injuries, but the lack of power in his throws indicates he might be hiding an arm and/or shoulder injury.
The best example of Rivers possibly hiding an injury came last night when Rivers fluttered a short pass intended for Vincent Jackson right into the hands of the Chiefs' Derrick Johnson. There was absolutely no zip on the ball and showed that Rivers either has issues with his mechanics or is hiding an injury from the public.
RotoWorld's Evan Silva noticed the same after watching Rivers' poor performance against the Chiefs on Monday night. Silva tweeted on Tuesday morning, I'm more inclined toward the notion that Rivers is playing hurt. And surprised at his defenders. Those flutter balls make life easy on a D.
Rivers managed to throw for 369 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs so his defenders do have a leg to stand on, but no one watching Monday night's game could walk away thinking that Rivers was throwing accurate passes.
The focus after the game was on Rivers' costly fumble, but going forward the most important thing is whether Rivers is concealing an injury.
Rivers and Chargers coach Norv Turner recently denied that the star quarterback was injured after a late-game loss to the Jets in Week 7.
I'm as healthy as I've been through six weeks, Rivers told reporters after the loss. I'm doing the best I can to lead a 4-2 team.
Philip's completely healthy, Turner told reporters. No, he's fine. Obviously, we don't want to turn the ball over, and that's one of the things we're working hard on. It is an entire team thing.
After another poor performance on Monday night, there will likely be more and more speculation that Rivers has an injury. If Rivers isn't injured, then the former North Carolina State star needs to improve his play considerably before the Chargers undergo a tough three game stretch.
The Chargers are now behind the Chiefs in the AFC by virtue of head-to-head tiebreaker and take on the Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, and Chicago Bears in their next three games. Rivers will need to limit his turnovers if the Chargers have any chance to come out of that stretch with a winning record.