CARSON – In a moment of profound symbolism Sunday, he took a knee.
This kneel down by an NFL player, however, had nothing to do with solidarity.
Instead, Philip Rivers was the personification of the exact opposite, a man on the brink of splintering into a billion bits, Rivers oh so close to detonating right there on the sideline at StubHub Center.
He was, to be certain, the face of frustration throughout another shockingly familiar-looking Chargers’ defeat, this one 26-24 to Philadelphia on just the latest day when the home team here was consumed by the happy, mocking noise of the visiting team’s fans.
Yeah, the face of frustration, all right, of screaming, veins-protruding, fists-clenched, blood-bubbling, mad-enough-to-punch-a-clown frustration.
“He’s aggressive,” Coach Anthony Lynn said later. “He’s a competitor.”
No kidding, Rivers midway through the third quarter riled up to the point where he could have challenged the AFC North to a fistfight.
Trailing 16-10, the Chargers had fourth-and-7 at the Eagles’ 45-yard line. They lined up as if to go for it but never snapped the ball.
Afterward, Lynn explained that there had been a thought about attempting to draw Philadelphia offsides and then trying to convert on fourth-and-2. Instead, the decision was made to punt.
This development resulted in Rivers stomping off the field, removing his helmet and shouting into it, tossing the poor, defenseless thing aside and then storming away from his teammates and coaches to kneel alone several yards away.
After a short time, Lynn walked over and said something to Rivers, something presumably about the dangers of high blood pressure.
Rivers was so hot I’m surprised he wasn’t asked to wear oven mitts on his return to the field for fear he might burn center Spencer Pulley’s buns had the Chargers opted to no longer use the shotgun formation.
Quite simply, Rivers absolutely wanted to go for the first down, although he later concurred that punting there was “100 percent…the correct thing to do.”
“We’re 0-3, shoot, heck with it,” he explained. “That’s just the emotion…It’s doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree. But I thought it was the right thing to do.”
The scene was classic Rivers – another heat-of-the-moment moment – this intense quarterback in his 12th tightly wound season as a starter famous for his fierce, sometimes-maniacal demonstrations on the field.
This episode was heightened no doubt by the fact the…