INDIANAPOLIS – The injury is clearly impacting Philip Rivers, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the final box score from Sunday afternoon.
Rivers: 27-of-35 (77 percent) for 285 yards, 2 touchdowns and a quarterback rating for 119.3
“I thought Philip was really sharp today in every way,” Frank Reich said afterwards.
It was one of Rivers’ finest performances of the 2020 season, as the Colts scored their most first-half points of the season (24) and held on for the 26-20 victory.
And he did it with a third string left tackle in the game for the majority of it and no supporting run game until the final quarter.
This is all as Rivers is dealing with an injured right foot/right big toe that will reportedly need surgery this offseason. Rivers suffered the injury two weeks ago against the Packers when he attempted a block.
On Sunday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Rivers will need offseason surgery on his hurt right foot/big toe because of a ‘plantar plate rupture.’ This would fall in line with what Quenton Nelson said late last week on the severity of Rivers’ foot injury.
Ever since the injury, and again after Sunday’s win, Rivers downplayed the severity.
“Rather than getting into the details, I’m just working each week to be able to be out there,” Rivers said after the win. “I don’t feel any limitations out there. It’s just managing it.”
The management of it has forced Rivers to alter his game preparation.
He has missed Wednesday practices each of the last two weeks—the first time he had sat out any practice time in 2020.
Rivers was wearing a walking boot after Sunday’s win, taking a golf cart to the team bus from the visiting locker room. Sunday was also the longest Rivers has waited to talk to the media after a game this season, with post-game treatment for his injury likely.
The Colts feel that given Rivers’ skillset, they remain confident he can give them quality play.
“It’s not like we’re running sprintouts and bootlegs with him,” Reich said of Rivers. “He’s a pocket passer. He doesn’t scramble a whole lot. Whatever level of pain he’s dealing with, I feel confident that he can play winning football. He’s playing winning football. He’s getting better each week. We feel good about that. That’s just the kind of player he is. He’s a tough player. He’s fighting through it. But it’s not at the point where I feel like it’s hindering the way we call the game at all.”
While there have been moments in the last two games of Rivers favoring his right foot, he’s still getting enough into throws in pushing off that injured foot.
CBS color analyst Rich Gannon said during Sunday’s broadcast that the injury for Rivers is not something you can give a pre-game shot to help manage the pain.
Sunday was the 236th straight start for Rivers, which is the 2nd longest streak in NFL history.
While Rivers will continue to try and play through this ailment, you wonder if this will impact the Colts at all (or Rivers) before they blindly hand the 39-year-old quarterback (turns 39 on Tuesday) another contract in 2021.
In a game the Colts desperately needed to get on Sunday though, Rivers showed the toughness and ability to play through an injury, something that has often defined his impressive career.