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Chargers losing despite Philip Rivers' play

SAN DIEGO – Playing well yet still losing. That has been the story line for the San Diego Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers during the 2016 season.

And that feeling is backed up by the numbers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rivers has a total QBR of 74.3 -- only Matt Ryan and Dak Prescott rank ahead of him.

It’s one of the reasons I gave Rivers an A-minus grade for his play so far this year. He’s fourth in the league in passer rating (105.9), ninth in passing yards (1,647) and tied for fifth in passing touchdowns (12).

Total QBR is a statistical metric that assesses overall quarterback play on a 0-to-100 scale with 50 being average.

An overlooked aspect of this measurement is that a player’s game-level QBR can be interpreted as an expected win percentage for his team given that level of QB play.

Based on Rivers’ play, the Chargers should have about 4.5 wins this season, per ESPN Stats & Information. Of course, because of fourth-quarter meltdowns San Diego is 2-4 on the year.

Even though the Chargers have struggled in the fourth quarter, Rivers still has a 68.3 total QBR in the fourth quarter and overtime this year.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, since the start of last season the Chargers have won about 7.5 fewer games than they should have given Rivers’ play alone.

San Diego has a 6-16 record since the start of the 2015 season. The Chargers are 4-13 in games decided by eight points or less dating to last year.

One of the reasons the Chargers have struggled in late-game situation is because they have a young team. Elias recently ranked the Chargers as the 10th-youngest roster in the NFL. The Chargers have 14 players on the active roster under the age of 24.

However, Rivers believes last week’s win over the defending champion Denver Broncos can go a long way to showing his teammates the blueprint to winning close games in the NFL.

“This is how teams win in this league,” Rivers said after last week’s game. “I see it every weekend all over. I see teams win and this is how they win. It’s not pretty. It’s not perfect.”