Duel in Green Bay: Rivers vs. Rodgers

Duel in Green Bay: Rivers vs. Rodgers

The San Diego Chargers eye a calendar — past and future — as they travel to the play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

These Chargers are well aware of there, ah, predicament.

“We are what we are but we got a long way to go,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “And we have the right guys to battle back. This is a long season.”

It’s on a short week the Chargers (2-3) asked to conquer the undefeated Packers (5-0).

“We’re playing a heck of a team,” Rivers said.

That it is. And the game comes on the heels of Monday night’s heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Rivers isn’t hoisting any white flags.

“We got a lot of football left,” he said.

What Rivers isn’t saying aloud is what those who follow football closely appreciate about this particular game

It will feature two of the NFL’s top quarterbacks — Rivers, who leads the league with 1,613 yards passing, and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, whose 1,236 yards passing is only 12th, but there is that unbeaten record and a 117.4 passer rating that is second only to that of New England’s Tom Brady. Rivers’ passer rating of 103.9 is sixth in the league.

Rodgers is tied for the league lead with 13 touchdown passes and only two interceptions while Rivers has 10 touchdowns with five touchdowns.

“I know him a little bit,” Rivers said of Rodgers. “I have a great deal of respect for him as a player. He’s one of the best there is, no question about that. He does a heck of a job leading that offense.”

Meanwhile, the Chargers have reached a critical juncture before midseason. They lost three of their last four games, although Rivers sees some positives.

“There are so many good things and you feel it during the game,” Rivers said. “We know we are not that far off. We are right there. It’s not like we aren’t close and there is no consolation.”

But the Packers are a beast on offense.

Rivers must put enough points to match Rodgers against a stout defense.

“It’s a defense which is very knowledgeable in what they are doing,” Rivers said. “There are very few guys running open, running free. There is nothing easy; they make you earn everything.”

The Chargers still seek a signature win this season and what if it came on Sunday? Maybe rookie running back Melvin Gordon has a big game, too, and the Chargers prevail.

“We’re trying to win,” Rivers said. “We’re not worried about Melvin’s break out game. We’re trying to win.”

To do so after Monday’s close lose would make it sweeter.

“Regardless on what happened on Monday night, either way, this challenge was going to be there,” Rivers said. “And we’ve attacked it the right way.”

Now can a season gone wrong in a month be corrected?

“I think we know we can get it going,” Rivers said. “We just have to find a way.”

SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 9-1. The Chargers have had a tough go against the Packers, winning just once in 1984 in Green Bay. The Chargers have lost the other three at Lambeau Field, where the teams meet on Sunday. The lone Chargers win came when Dan Fouts threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Kellen Winslow set a team mark — which Keenan Allen tied this season — with 15 receptions, good for 157 yards.

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