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Rivers uses shotgun well when it counts

After an unproductive first half, the San Diego Chargers bounced back with 17 points in the fourth quarter of Sundays' 23-20 loss to New England.

RiversRiversAccording to ESPN Stats & Information, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers had much more success using the shotgun formation in the second half than he did in the first half. In the second half, Rivers had a passer’s rating of 112.6 using the shotgun. He had a passer’s rating of 46.9 in the first half while using the formation. The Chargers had 11 first downs using the shotgun in the second half after getting just five in the first half using the shotgun.

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. believes the reason why the Chargers have to use the shotgun is because Rivers doesn’t get strong protection.

The Chargers’ rushing game has lacked production in recent games and Horton said opposing defenses can “tee off” on Rivers because they know he has to pass. One of the primary reasons why the Chargers aren’t running the ball much is that they have fallen behind and they are forced to throw the ball. San Diego has trailed by double digits in the first half of all five of its losses.

San Diego has shown decent balance on offense when it hasn’t fallen behind, but in the past two weeks that hasn’t been the case. San Diego trailed by 17 points against both St. Louis and New England, both losses.

“(Rivers) is seeing a lot of blitzes, both inside, outside, and in overload looks, and the communication up front is not good,” Horton wrote in some league observations. “The backs are rarely in sync in blitz pickup, rarely does the offensive line slide and pick up a blitzer and they just see the rush too late and they are especially vulnerable versus delayed blitzes, where those blockers are locked in to their initial block, and what may be most alarming is that these guys are losing too many one on one athletic battles. “

The San Diego offensive line appeared to perform better against New England than it did against the Rams. Rivers was sacked just twice against the Patriots after being dropped seven times against St. Louis. Left tackle Marcus McNeill looked more comfortable against the Patriots than he did against the Rams, which was his first game this season after holding out.

It will be interesting to see if the Chargers can get through their issues while using the shotgun successfully as they did in the second half against the Patriots.