What's Wrong With Philip Rivers?

I love Philip Rivers. I love his talent and what he was able to do last year with no wide receivers was incredible to me. It's this love that was the reason I predicted Rivers to win his first NFL MVP this year and why I predicted the Chargers to win the Superbowl.

However, after six weeks on play, the Chargers are barely holding on to the first in their division and Rivers has been pretty bad. The San Diego QB ranks 15th in passer rating behind guys like Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, and Curtis Painter with an 87.6 passer rating and ranks 11th in QBR (like passer rating but better because it involves football sabermetrics) behind the greats like Chad Henne and Eli Manning. According to Football Outsiders Rivers ranks 14th in DVOA and DYAR. Even fantasy owners are pissed at Rivers because he's only been 11th best quarterback (on a per game basis).

What the hell Philip Rivers!?

The main reason Rivers has been so bad is because he actually has more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (6). That's good for a .86 TD/INT ratio.

Other than that, Rivers has actually been really good this season.

Through five games in 2011, Rivers ranks 4th in yards per attempt (8.26) and 4th in completion percentage (67.2%). Rivers has a career 64.0 completion percentage and a career 8.0 YPA so what he is doing is actually above his career average.

Even with this high completion percentage and YPA, the reason Rivers is not putting up numbers is because he's just not throwing the ball a lot. Rivers only has 186 attempts- good for 19th in the league. But with that being said Rivers still ranks as the 6th best quarterback in terms of passing yards per game.

Now, let's go back to Rivers TD/INT ratio. As just shown, all other statistics Rivers has fall in line with his career numbers so it seems to me that his problem is turnovers. Over his past three seasons, Rivers has had an interception percentage of 2.4, 1.9, and 2.3 percent respectively. Rivers currently has a 3.8 INT%- his highest total ever since he's been the Chargers starter in 2006.

Rivers also has the lowest TD% of his career- with 3.2. His TD% over the past three years have been 5.5, 5.8, and 7.1 respectively.

Through five games Rivers has been awful at throwing touchdown passes and turning the ball over. However, he has only played in five games and he has played well below his career numbers. There are certain things quarterbacks can not control (say YPA and completion can completely depend on how terrible or good a QBs receivers are) but touchdowns, interceptions, and especially TD/INT ratio are things well within a quarterback's control.

I believe that Rivers' poor ball control is just a sample size issue. When I see a quarterback, in his prime, that has been so good for so long be this bad and have this good underlying statistics, it screams "outlier" to me. I see no reason why Rivers TD/INT ratio should not conform to his career averages for the rest of the season.