INDIANAPOLIS – That’s what Frank Reich considers ‘really good football’ from the most important position in football?
Many would like to have had Reich as a teacher grading papers back in the day.
Reich—who more than often strays far away from any public critiquing of his players—sounded more than content with the play the Colts got from their $25 million quarterback in Sunday’s 32-23 loss to the Browns.
“Philip obviously had the one pick-six, but Philip did a ton of good stuff in my opinion,” Reich said after the Colts starting offense produced just 1 touchdown drive in 9 (real) drives on Sunday. “I obviously have to watch the film, but he made some plays and he made some throws. We go down and we score the first drive. Then, we put together another long drive and end up with a field goal. I thought in that regard, he kept us in it at the end.”
And big picture with Rivers?
“Yes, Philip is playing really good football,” the head coach added. “That is the least of my worries. That is the least of my worries. Philip is playing good football. You are going to have mistakes when you get in situations like that. I know we would want the interception back, but the safety, like I said, is on me. You take that away and you get that one mistake, in my mind, that was the big factor. (The safety) was not the big factor, but the one big mistake with Philip was the interception. That is it.”
In total, Rivers finished Sunday 21-of-33 for 243 yards, 2 interceptions. The offense he leads had another ugly day situationally—4-of-11 on 3rd down and 1-of-4 in the red zone.
Against a Browns defense that is particularly weak in the back end, Rivers and the Colts couldn’t keep up in the shootout.
More so than any of the first four games, Rivers’ mistakes in the second half were fatal. He threw a beyond brutal pick six early in the third quarter, a throw that no business being released.
While Reich put Rivers into an awful situation with a play call when backed up early in the fourth quarter, the veteran QB still didn’t properly throw the ball away, leading to a huge safety and pushing the deficit back to two scores. Another interception by Rivers in the 4th quarter halted another potential drive for the Colts to get back into the game.
Sure, Rivers hit on a few chunk plays Sunday, but once the scripted part of the game ended, the quarterback made multiple back-breaking errors.
While Rivers continues to give the Colts some chances in the vertical passing game, his throws outside the numbers have a ‘hold your breath’ type feel to them.
Reich would strongly disagree with such an assessment.
“No, Philip can throw the ball anywhere on the field,” Reich said when asked about any concern on Rivers throwing outside the numbers.
“Like I said, we will look at the tape and evaluate it, but I thought he made a ton of plays out there today. I thought he made a ton of plays out there.”
To the naked eye, the Rivers we saw in Sunday’s second half looked like the one who wilted away with the Chargers’ 5-11 record last season.
With Rivers now 5 games into his Colts’ career, he has definitely had some positive moments as the starting quarterback this season.
Sunday was easily the worst we’ve seen him, looking much different than the efficient QB he was during the Colts’ three-game win streak.
Following Sunday’s loss, Rivers was easily the most frustrated he’s been in a presser as a Colt.
What Reich and Rivers choose to say after a game is up to them.
And whether they want to admit it or not, the quarterback the Colts got on Sunday is nowhere near good enough to do something for this team in the month of January.