Philip Rivers earned his reputation as a very good quarterback cursed with constant failures in late-game situations and the least likeable facial expressions and general overall demeanor of any human being of all time. But 2012 saw him drop off from that to just being a modestly bad quarterback.
Monday night, Philip was back, and when we say Philip Rivers was back, we mean we got the entire Philip Rivers experience, both good, bad, and hilarious.
2012 was a career year for Philip, in a bad way. After four straight 4,000 yard seasons and three straight Pro Bowl appearances, the Chargers QB saw both streaks snapped while leading San Diego to their first losing season since 2003. And with less successful plays, we got less of Rivers' personality and fewer massive late game failures. (Although still some of those, too.) Was the man the internet not-so-affectionately knows as Marmalard gone?
Against the Texans, it didn't seem like it. Rivers was on fire out of the gate, throwing a touchdown on the Chargers' very first play from scrimmage and three in the first half, matching his total from any full game last season.
And did he exuberantly celebrate in gleefully cocky and incredibly doofy fashion? Boy did he!
You can just see a year of pent-up aggression unleashed.
On the Chargers' first drive of the second half, he efficiently drove his team down the field for a touchdown, completing four of five passes including a 47-yard bomb to Malcom Floyd. After finishing the drive with an apparent one-yard toss to Eddie Royal, Rivers took issue to a penalty call that seemed poised to bring back the score:
He continued dodging and jawing at the refs for what seemed like five full minutes, and sure enough, the officials picked up their flag to reveal a touchdown -- Rivers' fourth -- to put the Chargers up 28-7. It was his first four-score game since Week 9 of the 2011 season.
From his perspective, we had reached the zenith of Rivers' evening. Gaudy statline? Check. Unwavering self-satisfaction? Check.
It was all coming together for Philip, and he was loving every minute of it.
But true Philip Rivers enthusiasts knew that we weren't getting the whole Philip Rivers package. That what goes up must inevitably come down, and for every positive hilarious Philip Rivers reaction, there will be a swift and even more hilarious negative Philip Rivers reaction.
4 touchdowns is great, but if this is really Philip Rivers and Chargers, they won't score more than a FG for the rest of the game.— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) September 10, 2013
I'm not going to make it up until the end, but I will tell you now that Phil Rivers doesn't win this game.— Dustin Godsey (@dgodz) September 10, 2013
The Texans would score on their next drive to make it 28-14. Rivers would throw two incompletions and the Chargers would go three and out.
They're already getting nervous in San Diego. And they should be.— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) September 10, 2013
The Texans would score on their next drive to make it 28-21. Rivers would throw another incompletion and the Chargers would go three-and-out.
(whistling) https://t.co/0SauiQGiq2— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) September 10, 2013
The Texans would break the streak by punting on their next drive. But Philip stepped up with his most Philip moment of the evening, his pièce de resistance: a pass intended for Danny Woodhead was snagged out of the air by Brian Cushing, who had time to stand up and saunter into the end zone for a game-tying pick six.
Philip's reaction was classic Philip:
I'm a little teapot short and stout
I blew the game now you watch me pout
With the game tied, Rivers would go incomplete on three straight passes on the next drive, including one solid bounce pass to a running back. After his fourth touchdown, he'd go incomplete on eight of his last nine passes, dropping his completion percentage from from 61 percent to 48.3. And the Chargers would lose 31-28 on rookie kicker Randy Bullock's 41-yarder as the clock expired.
The only question was which Rivers failure .GIF of yore to reference at the end of the evening: