Rivers, Colts hope to extend season vs. Jaguars
Could Sunday be the last hurrah for veteran quarterback Philip Rivers?
Addressing the uncertain nature beyond the host Indianapolis Colts’ Week 17 game against the skidding Jacksonville Jaguars, Rivers acknowledged the thought crossed his mind.
With the Colts (10-5) needing a victory against the Jaguars (1-14) plus a loss from either the Cleveland Browns (10-5), Baltimore Ravens (10-5), Miami Dolphins (10-5) or Tennessee Titans (10-5) to make the AFC playoffs, Indianapolis’ postseason prospects aren’t the only “What if” swirling around town.
“I guess it’s probably healthy to have that thought because, shoot, you’re not guaranteed anything moving forward,” Rivers said. “But to think it could be the last game, the last game I ever play, certainly. I don’t intend it will be, I don’t hope that it is, but you have to acknowledge it is a possibility.”
Rivers, 39, signed a one-year contract with the Colts in the offseason following a 16-season career with the Chargers franchise. Still, coach Frank Reich admitted this season he could see the Colts bringing Rivers back, were he interested.
Behind Rivers’ 23 touchdowns and 68.2 completion percentage against just 10 interceptions — half his total from 2019 — the Colts rank eighth in the NFL in passing yards per game (259.3) and ninth in scoring at 28.2 points per game.
Rivers will aim to stay upright Sunday with a shuffled offensive line. The Colts, who are coming off a 28-24 loss at Pittsburgh in Week 16, announced Wednesday that left tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee) will be out for the remainder of the season.
Jacksonville earned its lone win of 2020 with a 27-20 home victory against the Colts in the season opener. Rivers was 36 of 46 for 363 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, outshined by Jaguars counterpart Gardner Minshew II, who had one incompletion in 20 attempts while passing for173 yards and three touchdowns.
Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries in his NFL debut en route to a 1,070-yard, seven-touchdown season that ultimately was cut short. After missing Jacksonville’s Week 16 home loss to Chicago with a left ankle injury that hampered him the previous week, the Jaguars announced Wednesday that Robinson would be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Robinson fell just 35 yards shy of breaking the league rushing record for an undrafted rookie.
“I could never, ever say enough about that guy, how hard he’s tried,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “He wants to come back. He wants to play.”
The same could be said for a healthy Minshew, but Marrone has confirmed that veteran Mike Glennon will start under center in the season finale, completing a quarterback carousel that saw Minshew, rookie Jake Luton and Glennon split starts after Minshew started the first seven games.
Glennon was 24-for-37 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 41-17 loss to the Bears, and he figures to have a depleted core of weapons against the Colts. Marrone said wide receiver Collin Johnson (hamstring) would be out Sunday, while fellow wideout D.J. Chark (shin) didn’t practice Wednesday.
–Field Level Media