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"You've Got To Be Careful Not To Relax" - Philip Rivers isn't taking anything for granted as season enters home stretch

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As the season comes to an end and the Chargers are in the thick of the AFC West race for the first time in a few years, quarterback Philip Rivers is playing some of the best football of his career. But Rivers isn't taking anything for granted and realizes that things can go south quickly in the NFL.

When Rivers was asked about his recent play after Sunday's game against the Redskins, in which he threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns, he didn't take the opportunity to gloat and instead hammered home how the team needs to stay focused over the final few weeks. "You've got to be careful not to relax" the veteran signal caller declared.

He went on to say how his own recent success can't allow him to get overconfident to the point where he starts making crucial mistakes, saying "There's that fine line of, 'Shoot it's going good you come on in there and I'm letting it rip' to making sure you don't cross the line of 'OK, I'…

Film Study: Philip Rivers had an epic game against the Browns and is quietly having an MVP-caliber season

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Lost amid what has been a crazy 2017 season is the level at which Philip Rivers has been playing. Along with the recent stellar play of the defense, Rivers is a large part of the reason the Chargers climbed out of their 0-4 hole.

If Rivers continues to play like he has and the Chargers make the playoffs, he deserves to be in the MVP discussion. Here's why:

Over his last two games Rivers is completing a ridiculous 76.3% of his passes (53 of 76) with 781 yards and four touchdowns. The knock on Rivers despite his decade-plus of remarkable passing numbers has always been that he's too turnover prone, but this year he has just eight turnovers through 12 games. Last year, Rivers had a career high 21 interceptions. This year, he has just seven. He's dramatically reduced his turnovers while still operating as a gunslinger who isn't afraid to chuck it all over the field.

Rivers' arm strength hasn't lost anything and he still processes the field at a remarkably quick pac…

Chargers beat Browns, move into tie for division lead

Just like that, the once 0-4 Chargers sit atop the AFC West for the first time all season. After beating the Browns 19-10 at the Stubhub Center the Chargers are now in a three-way tie with the Raiders and Chiefs for the division lead after the Chiefs blew an early lead against the Jets and the Raiders beat the Geno Smith-led Giants.

The win over the Browns wasn't the blowout that many expected, but it was a solid win. Philip Rivers followed up his dominant Thanksgiving game with another spectacular outing. He shredded the the Browns defense, throwing for 344 yards and a touchdown on 31/43 passing. Rivers was especially amazing over the middle of the field, going 17/17 on throws over the middle.

He spread the ball around pretty well, with Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Travis Benjamin all having big receiving games. Henry had a second straight huge game, catching seven of nine targets for 81 yards. The offensive formula for the Chargers remains clear, when they consistently targe…

Chargers sign kicker Travis Coons to active roster, Nick Novak to injured reserve

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The Chargers made yet another move at kicker, and will have their third kicker this season start for them against the Browns. Nick Novak has been sent to injured reserve and Travis Coons, who was signed to the practice squad earlier this week, was promoted to the active roster.

Novak injured his back in the Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys and appeared to be making progress in his recovery. He recently returned to a full practice session so him heading to injured reserve is a bit of a surprise. It's possible he suffered a setback in practice.

Coons will be making his Chargers debut against his old team. Coons' only regular season experience came in 2015 with the Browns when he was 28-32 on field goals. Despite missing only four kicks, he missed both of his attempts from 50+ yards.

Kicker has been probably the least stable position for the Chargers this year. Undrafted rookie Younghoe Koo won the job in training camp this year, beating out last year's starter Josh Lam…

Casey Hayward named AFC defensive player of the month

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Casey Hayward was announced this morning as the November AFC defensive player of the month. He's the first Chargers defensive back to win the award since Antonio Cromartie all the way back in 2007.

Hayward has been lights out in coverage this year, earning Pro Football Focus' highest grade among all cornerbacks. This November he has three interceptions, eight tackles, and seven pass breakups, all while rarely seeing the ball thrown his way because of his shutdown coverage.

On Thanksgiving, Hayward was targeted seven times while guarding Dez Bryant, allowing just three catches for 22 yards while intercepting Dak Prescott. The week prior, he intercepted two passes against the Bills and only allowed one catch on eight targets. Hayward led the NFL in interceptions last year with seven and was selected to the pro-bowl.

Hayward's award comes just a month after defensive end Melvin Ingram received the same award last month. Hayward's play has been a large part of the Charger…

Chargers sign kicker to practice squad, Nick Novak's status for Sunday uncertain

The Chargers announced the signing of kicker Travis Coons to their practice squad. Nick Novak's status for Sunday's game against the Browns is uncertain after he injured his back during the Thanksgiving day victory over the Cowboys.

Coons is a 2014 UDFA who has bounced around the league over the past couple seasons. His only experience in the regular season was when he spent all of 2015 as the Browns' kicker. He hit 28 of 32 attempts but was beat out prior to the 2016 season by Patrick Murray and released. He spent time with the Rams in training camp this year.

After being signed to replace Younghoe Koo, Novak hasn't been very effective. The Chargers are currently dead last in the NFL in field goal percentage at 63.2%. The league average this year is 84.1%. If the Chargers' field goal percentage holds for the rest of the year, it would be the first time a team was below 65% since 2012.

Whoever the kicker is Sunday, the kicking situation can't get much worse th…

AFC playoff picture: what the Chargers need to happen in week 12

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With the Thanksgiving day victory over the Cowboys, the Chargers are right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. They're firmly in the hunt for the division as well as for the wildcard, currently competing with the Titans, Bills, Ravens, and a slew of 4-6 teams for two spots. Here's what Charger fans should be rooting for in the games this week:

DIVISION:

BILLS @ CHIEFS: 

The Chiefs are currently in free-fall as they attempt to hold off the Chargers for the AFC West lead. After starting out 5-0, they've lost four of five and are now just 6-4 and a game and a half ahead of the Chargers. Since the Chargers still have one game left against the Chiefs, if they win that they'll need to make-up just a half more game the rest of the season.

The Chiefs host the Bills this week and are heavy favorites, currently favored by about ten points in Vegas. Although the Chargers are technically competing with the Bills for a wildcard spot, the Bills are clearly giving up on the seaso…