For much of the 2018 NFL season, the MVP race has been thought to be a two-man competition. Patrick Mahomes was the favorite at the start of Week 15 with Drew Brees not far behind.

Has a third player now become a real contender to win the award?

Philip Rivers could start to get some MVP consideration over the final few weeks of the regular season. His name will at least be in the conversation after leading the Los Angeles Chargers to a pivotal win over the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

L.A. tied Kansas City with an 11-3 record atop the AFC West by defeating their division rival. Rivers engineered two touchdown drives in the final four minutes of regulation. He threw a touchdown pass with four seconds remaining and completed a pass to Mike Williams for the game-winning two-point conversion.

Mahomes was arguably better than Rivers in defeat with a 110.3 passer rating and no turnovers Thursday. The Chargers’ quarterback was picked off twice, though he did end the game with 313 passing yards, two scores and most importantly, the win.

The Chiefs’ second-year quarterback has put up some eye-popping stats in his first year as a starter. Mahomes leads the NFL with 4,543 passing yards, and his 45 touchdown passes are 11 more than anyone else. His 114.8 passer rating is second behind only Brees.

Rivers isn’t far behind Mahomes with a 112.4 passer rating. His 31 touchdown passes and 3,951 yards aren’t close, but he has only thrown eight interceptions. Rivers is ahead of Mahomes with a 69.4 completion percentage, and he leads all starting quarterbacks with 8.84 yards per attempt.

Brees has a league-high 120.8 passer rating and 75.7 completion percentage. His 31 scores and four picks give him a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than both AFC West quarterbacks. The veteran is 10th in the NFL with 3,463 passing yards and fifth with 8.35 yards per attempt.

The Chargers still have work to do in order for Rivers to have a shot at winning the award. Kansas City owns the tiebreaker over Los Angeles, and the 37-year-old won’t finish ahead of Mahomes if L.A. comes in second place behind the Chiefs.

Los Angeles ends the season at home against the Baltimore Ravens and on the road against the Denver Broncos. Kansas City will play a tough road game against the Seattle Seahawks before hosting the Oakland Raiders in the season finale.

If the Chargers win out and the Chiefs suffer another loss, Los Angeles will finish ahead of Kansas City and earn the No.1 seed in the AFC. One more loss by the New Orleans Saints could knock them out of the NFC’s top spot, potentially opening the door for Rivers to steal the MVP award.

Philip Rivers LA Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers waves to Kansas City Chiefs fans after the Chargers defeated the Chiefs with a final score of 29-28 to win the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 13, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo: Peter Aiken/Getty Images