QB Philip Rivers speaks to the media following loss to Patriots
Q: Can you take us through the first half after the promising first drive?
PR: Yeah, well I’m not going to take you through all of it. It was 35 to 7, I mean, you saw it. We answered right away and like we’ve done all year, we’ve really complemented each other well and if one side needed picking up a little bit, we’ve done that. We did it right away after the first drive, they had it what, seven minutes and then we answered. They scored again and we didn’t answer and they scored again and we didn’t answer and they scored again and we didn’t answer. We needed to and we knew offensively that our defense was going to settle in and they needed us and we didn’t hold up our end offensively. A couple missed third-down conversions, a couple – just lack of execution on our end. Any time you score – we ended up scoring more late, obviously we know how those points work but we were sitting with what, seven, with what was it, three, four minutes left in the – two and half minutes left in the third quarter. That’s not good offense. I know our defensive guys have probably said they’re disappointed in how they played but that was a collective team loss. Just how we’ve won 13 games together, we’ve lost all five together and it was no different today. They were just better than us.
Q: How much of what they were doing reflect that they had that extra week to prepare and zero in on you guys?
PR: They just played better. I don’t know that it had anything to do with the extra week. They played better. I don’t know that they did a ton of stuff defensively that surprised us. That first drive, like I said, we answered and scored. We did some things, it seems like we got to midfield every possession that first half, just about. And then we just stalled, lack of some third down conversions, not as efficient on first and second down. When it comes to an end, we can analyze it all we want. They scored more points than we did and they were the better team today.
Q: You’re generally known as a terrific competitor. Was there ever a point where you felt as if your competitiveness got to a level of frustration?
PR: No, I don’t think so. One thing I know and thankfully I think – it’s a collective effort in this regard is, we’re never going to quit. I don’t care what the score is, we’re going to play until that last second ticks to zero. So I think that was it. Maybe there’s a little more emotion coming out at the end because you just hate that it’s over. It’s hard when it ends. There’s nothing like playoff football because you never take the field expecting it to be the last game unless you’re in the last game and you know it is and that’s the Super Bowl. Maybe there’s a little bit extra that came out at the end. That’s part of it, that’s the way I play my best. In many ways, that wasn’t my best today. Obviously when you don’t score more points than the other team, you’re not. But we’re going to fight until the end and I thought at least we can say we did that. It doesn’t count for much at this point but in the big scheme of things, it counts a heck of a lot.
Q: So it would be unfair to say that you showed a lack of composure out there that may have cost his team?
PR: You can decide whether that’s unfair or not. I know that’s not the case in any – not at all.
Q: It took you so long to get back to this point. There must be a lot of emotions going on right now.
PR: Yeah, it’s tough. I was excited this week, I was excited to come back here. It was an emotional week a little bit just being back here in the postseason after being here 11 years ago almost to the day, a week shy of 11 years. I think like every team, when you go into the game, you expect to win and I certainly thought we were going to have a better outing. But we didn’t. So it is emotional because I think you know how hard it is to get to January the 13th and be in a playoff game. You’re talking an eight, nine month deal and to come up short again is tough. A lot of good this year, I think as the dust settles you can appreciate more of that. But certainly a disappointing finish. You get up and start again.
Q: That last touchdown pass to Antonio Gates might be the last catch he ever makes if he decides to retire. Is there something special about that, something emotional there?
PR: I think it will be if were to be. Pretty cool that if it were to be his last one, that his last catch was a touchdown. You’re talking about a guy that’s caught more than anybody in the history of tight ends and he and I have thrown more in the history of quarterbacks and tight ends. If that were to be the last one, at least – nothing to be excited about right now but if it were to be, you’d look back one day and say it ended just how it started there a long time ago.
Q: You’ve played the Chiefs this season and the Patriots today. How are they similar and how are they different?
PR: Well, they’re both well-coached football teams. I think from a defensive standpoint they both play their scheme and they believe in it. Like I said, there wasn’t a lot of surprises today from that defense. I watched pretty much every game they played this season and they mixed some things and yeah, they had a few wrinkles but they played true to what got them another however many straight division championships they’ve gotten and now their eighth-straight championship game. They didn’t change a whole lot. So I think both teams kind of are going to do what they do. Going against Kansas City’s defense and their scheme for the last seven, eight years, they do what they do. You saw in the first meeting, it was 43 to 40 I guess. So I would expect a lot of points.
Q: Will you watch the game next week?
PR: I’ll watch it. I hope they play for about three days. Really, I hope it lasts three days and they finally just call it a draw.
Q: Where do you usually watch the Super Bowl? At home with your family?
PR: Yeah, at the house.
Q: 9-7 last year, 12-4 this year and you get to where you’re at now. How do you take the next step next year?
PR: Yeah, I think the thing is, I think just guys have to know how tough it is to get to right today. I think it’s easy in the heat of the moment to say, ‘Hey, we’ll be back and we’ll get it done next year.’ That’s a long way from now, to get to right here. Let’s not forget how hard it was to get here and we can appreciate that and then learn from the highs and the lows and the good and the bad of this game so we can fight to find our way back in this game and then how can this game help us. So it’s a long journey, it’s probably hard to sum it up like that. But we definitely improved from last year, you look at 0-4 and then what is that – we’ve won what, 22 of the last however many that is – 22 of the last 27 or something like that. 22 of the last 30 maybe? So we’ve won a lot of football games since that tough start last year. For the most part, the nucleus of this team is going to be here. You regroup and go back at it again.
Q: How important is it to be home for a playoff game instead of having to get on a plane and play an away game?
PR: Yeah, well I think it’s easy in hindsight, right? I mean we won every game we got on a plane this year except for this one. So we’d done a heck of a job on the road. Sometimes you look at what you did and you go, ‘Yeah, let’s just keep them all on the road because we’’ve been good on the road.’ But I think that’s probably just your emotion once you kind of feel like, ‘Oh yeah, let’s just keep riding that out.’ But I think if you really think about it, yeah, you want to be at home. There’s no question, you want to be at home where it’s about 65 degrees and it’s your place, not dealing with the noise and being able to communicate and all those things. Those things could have helped a little bit today too. But they just outplayed us, they just outplayed us. I do want to go back to your question about the composure because there was never a lack of composure, I think sometimes my demonstrative movements may look that way but I was just poised as could be. The whole time.
Q: And I wasn’t trying to be unfair, as we watch the game from the other side, it’s fair to come and ask you.
PR: No question. If you’ve watched me for 210 games, as you’d see for all 210, it’s served me well for the most part.
Q: When you look at Tom Brady and that offense today and how they played against your defense, are you more impressed that he’s doing that at age 41 against your defense?
PR: I don’t know if there’s anything he can do now that makes you have any more respect. For what he’s done over his career, I don’t think that he can throw another pass or do anything that makes you go, ‘Oh man, gosh, he is really good.’ I think he’s up there, if not the all-time great, one of. That argument can go on forever and so I don’t think he can surprise you with anything he does. Was he rolling at the highest level today? I think we all would agree with that.
Q: Can you put your finger on what it was today that contributed to the loss?
PR: They just outplayed us. I think that’s why – there’s so many people that watch and so many people that care because it’s a game and if you could say, ‘Well, they’re going to do the same thing and what are you all going to run?’ Well, okay, we’ll do the percentages and just give it to the team that we think is going to win. I think that’s why you play it out. They just outplayed us. We felt this game was going to be about execution on both sides of the ball and I think collectively, as a team, we got out-executed. When you do that and you’re already going against a heck of an opponent as you always are in the postseason, you usually fall short.