INDIANAPOLIS — Change has been very good to Philip Rivers.
At 31, playing under the third different head coach in his 10-year NFL career, the San Diego Chargers quarterback has been reborn.
Running an up-tempo, no huddle scheme that new coach Mike McCoy brought over from the Denver Broncos and has allowed offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to fine tune, Rivers is completing an other-worldly 73.7 percent of his passes — more than eight percent higher than his previous career best (65.3) in 2008.
He's on pace to throw for 5,152 yards and 42 touchdowns. Only Peyton Manning is enjoying a better start, and it comes on the heels of a down season that had some wondering whether the signal-caller's window of opportunity had closed.
The addition of scatterbug running back Danny Woodhead — and the return to health of tight end Antonio Gates — have helped Rivers rebound. The Chargers rank fifth in the league in total offense and second in passing touchdowns, but the quarterback is more focused on the 2-3 start.
"We've done some good things there, but ultimately we want it to translate into wins, and we haven't done enough," he said. "We won two of five, and we know that's not going to get it done."
Indeed, following last Sunday's 27-17 loss against the Oakland Raiders, San Diego currently sits in last place in the AFC West. It's a tough position for a team to be in when so many things have gone right.
The offense has been something of a revelation, with Rivers using the no-huddle scheme to dictate the game's tempo. When he wants to speed up the action, he gets to the line quickly and snaps the ball before the defense has time to make adjustments. When defenses throw a curve ball, the extra time at the line of scrimmage becomes valuable to read the formation and make as many audibles as neccessary to get the Chargers into the right play.