Despite having zero Super Bowl appearances to show for it, Philip Rivers was often as steady as they come in his 17-year career. While many of the Chargers teams he played for in 16 of those seasons fell well short of NFL relevancy, Rivers put up big numbers, eclipsing 4,000 passing yards 12 times and tossing 30 or more touchdowns in six seasons.
Seahawks fans may tell you that, from their perspective, Rivers dominated no team more than theirs. Upon further review, this is definitely not true, though Rivers did get the edge in the win-loss column and put up strong numbers. While Rivers, who played in the AFC his entire career, only saw Seattle four times in 17 years, he and the Chargers always seemed to be able to step up to the challenge and give the Seahawks a hard time.
In those four contests, Rivers notched a record of 3-1, throwing for 1,148 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions. With the 39-year old quarterback now hanging up his cleats for good, let's take a deeper dive into Rivers' history with Seattle.
December 24, 2006: Chargers 20, Seahawks 17
Rivers' first meeting with the Seahawks threw him right into the belly of the beast in an epic Christmas Eve bout. At the peak of the 12th Man phenomenon in the mid 2000s, going into then called Qwest Field was a gauntlet for anyone to overcome - let alone a third-year quarterback.
But the Chargers were one of the most dominant NFL teams in 2006, finishing the year 14-2 while riding on the wave of LaDainian Tomlinson's record-setting 28 rushing touchdown campaign. While Tomlinson ran for 123 yards in this one, the Seahawks were able to accomplish the seemingly impossible and keep him out of the end zone.
This time, however, it was Rivers playing the role of hero for San Diego. In the closing minutes of a sluggish game, with the 12s screaming down his neck, Rivers orchestrated a game-winning drive capped off by a 37-yard bomb to Vincent Jackson near the back of the end zone.
Though Rivers got the last laugh, he had struggled quite a bit in this game. That touchdown to Jackson would be just his 10th completion out of 30 attempts, good enough for 181 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and, most importantly, a win.
September 26, 2010: Seahawks 27, Chargers 20
During the four years it took for the Seahawks to see Rivers again, many changes had taken place in Seattle. Now in Pete Carroll's first season as the Seahawks' head coach, Rivers returned to CenturyLink Field with sights set on a 2-0 record in one of the most daunting stadiums in professional sports.
Rivers put up far bigger numbers than in his previous face-off with Seattle, completing 29 of his whopping 53 pass attempts for 455 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Chargers found themselves in a 17-0 hole early in the third quarter, though Rivers would stage a comeback to tie things up at 20 apiece with a fourth quarter touchdown to Antonio Gates.
Seahawks fans should fondly remember what happened next though, as newcomer Leon Washington took the following kickoff to the house on a 99-yard return in what would be the difference in the game. This was Washington's second score of the nature, earlier taking another kickoff for a 101-yard touchdown to start the third quarter of what winded up being Seattle's only victory over Rivers.
September 14, 2014: Chargers 30, Seahawks 21
Coming off a Super Bowl victory and a dominant Week 1 win over the Packers, the Seahawks were feeling very good about themselves heading into San Diego. Rivers had other ideas, however, as the North Carolina State alum surgically picked apart the Legion of Boom to the tune of 284 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions on 28 completions.
At kickoff, on-field temperatures were reported to be as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The Seahawks, with the San Diego sun beating down on their dark uniforms, appeared gassed pretty much right out of the gate. The Chargers, playing in their natural habitat, took full advantage. Rivers and company jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first half and never looked back, despite a resilient Russell Wilson on the other sideline.
Wilson fired a pair of touchdown passes to running backs Robert Turbin and Marshawn Lynch, but Rivers' hot start proved too much to overcome. Trailing by just six points, Seattle could not muster up anything on offense in the fourth quarter and the eventual nine-point loss ended up being Wilson's largest margin of defeat up to that point.
November 4, 2018: Chargers 25, Seahawks 17
In what would prove to be Rivers' last game against the Seahawks, the Chargers - now relocated to Los Angeles - once again started out hot and held firm the rest of the way. Despite Seattle striking first on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Jaron Brown, Los Angeles went on to put up 19 unanswered points assisted by a pair of scores off the arm of Rivers.
Although the final score may indicate otherwise, this game wasn't all that close. The Seahawks struggled on offense and found themselves down by nine for the majority of the second half, desperately trying to claw their way back into the competition. On a last-ditch effort to make things interesting, Wilson was picked off by Chargers cornerback Desmond King, who galloped to the end zone to put the final nail in Seattle's coffin.
Rivers' numbers were far from his best in this one, though his first half performance was all Los Angeles really needed. On his final stat line, Rivers completed 13 of his 26 attempts for 228 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers - an important theme in all three of his victories over Seattle.