At 2-6, Philip Rivers says Chargers in 'uncharted waters'

SAN DIEGO -- During a decade as the starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, quarterback Philip Rivers has never started the season 2-6.

After the team's third late-game loss this season -- this one a 29-26 setback to the Baltimore Ravens -- Rivers said the Chargers are breaking new ground during his time in San Diego.

"This is uncharted waters for me and really the guys that have been here for a long time -- and maybe for some other guys who have never been 2-6 before," Rivers said. "This is a first, and we'll have to see how we handle it."

Once again, the Chargers dealt with injuries to several players. Left tackle King Dunlap (ankle), defensive lineman Corey Liuget (foot) and Ladarius Green (ankle) suffered injuries in the first half, did not return to the game and left the locker room in walking boots.

Cornerback Patrick Robinson suffered a concussion. Receiver Keenan Allen had muscle spasms. Guard Chris Watt suffered a shoulder injury and Chris Hairston injured a knee. All four of those players did not return.

"I think 12 guys at some point came out," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. "It was just one thing after another, so you just have to keep adjusting. ... I've never been in anything like it with that many guys going down in the game."

Rivers echoed McCoy's comments.

"I know it happens everywhere, but it ain't happening like this anywhere in the league right now," Rivers said. "It's just crazy."

The injuries are a major concern, but good teams overcome them because they have enough quality depth so the play doesn't drop significantly when backups enter the game.

"We're not going to sit up here and say we lost just because we didn't have those players on the field," cornerback Jason Verrett said. "We were still in the game. We lost with the players that were there.

"We've just got to get out of this slump. Right now we're in a hole. We've got to do whatever it takes to get out of it."

The Chargers have lost four straight and nine of their last 12 games dating to last season.

Like all players battling though slumps, veteran tight end Antonio Gates said his team needs one thing: a win.

"There's not a doubt in our minds that we're a good football team," Gates said. "But you have to have that type of reinforcement when you win games, because that's what shows you are a good football team.

"If you go 2-14 and you keep saying you're a good football team -- well, no, you ain't. You know what I'm saying? You're a 2-14 team. So this is our record. It's who we are, but we have to find a way to get wins."

There could something good that emerges from San Diego's misfortune this season.

The last time the Chargers were 2-6 or worse through the team's first eight games was 2003, when they started 1-7.

The Chargers finished 4-12 that year, drafted Eli Manning with the first pick in the 2004 draft and traded him for Rivers, a third-round selection that turned into kicker Nate Kaeding and a 2005 first-rounder that turned into pass rusher Shawne Merriman.

Perhaps if San Diego can't get things turned around, a franchise player awaits them with a high pick in next year's draft.

But Rivers isn't conceding anything.

"Until we are mathematically eliminated, we're playing to make the playoffs," Rivers said.