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For all the success that Philip Rivers has had during his career with the Chargers franchise, there’s one thing the 37-year-old product of N.C. State has never done: win a game against Tom Brady.
For his career, Rivers is 1-6 against New England, with the one win coming in 2008, the year that Brady missed all but the first game of the season. In the six games against Brady, Rivers’ offense has never scored more than 21 points, a formula for defeat against a Patriot offense that has usually been among the league’s best.
Despite that, Brady has been full of praise for Rivers and the way he’s played during his career. Here’s a look at what has happened in the two quarterbacks’ respective matchups as they head into their seventh career meeting and first with the Chargers representing Los Angeles instead of San Diego.
Jan. 14, 2007: Patriots 24, Chargers 21
This one probably hurt the most for the Chargers. Coming off a 14-2 season, the Chargers were supposed to be ready to go to a Super Bowl, which would have been a second appearance for the team and a first for coach Marty Schottenheimer. Instead, the Patriots did just enough to squeeze past the Chargers, despite three interceptions from Brady.
New England’s celebration was short-lived, as Peyton Manning and the Colts would finally solve the Patriots the next week in the AFC title game, but on this day, all the Chargers could do was seethe.
Sept. 16, 2007: Patriots 38, Chargers 14
This one was never going to end well for the Chargers. This was the year of 16-0 for New England, and in the second week of the season, the Patriots were hitting on all cylinders. Brady threw just six incompletions in the entire game and three touchdowns as New England cruised to a win. Rivers did his best to keep up with two scores, but two interceptions meant he was fighting a losing battle.
Jan. 20, 2008: Patriots 21, Chargers 12
Judging Rivers for this loss would be totally unfair. The quarterback played the entire game with a torn ligament in his knee and no LaDainian Tomlinson, who was out with an injured knee. Rivers gutted out enough to keep the Chargers in the game against the 17-0 Patriots, but in the chill of Foxborough without the use of his legs, it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t a memorable day for Brady, either, as the New England signal caller finished with three interceptions.
Oct. 24, 2010: Patriots 23, Chargers 20
The Chargers nearly stole this game after falling behind 23-6, but their offense simply made too many mistakes to pull out a win. Rivers actually outdueled Brady in terms of yards (336 to 159, Brady’s worst performance against the Chargers), but the Chargers couldn’t get out of their own way until it was too late.
Sept. 18, 2011: Patriots 35, Chargers 21
Rivers did everything he could to will the Chargers to a win in New England, throwing for 378 yards and two touchdowns, both highs for him against Brady. But the Patriots’ passer was better, accumulating 423 yards and three touchdowns, without the two interceptions that plagued Rivers.
Dec. 7, 2014: Patriots 23, Chargers 14
One day prior to Rivers’ 33rd birthday, the Patriots once again spoiled the party by sacking Rivers four times and holding him to just 189 passing yards. Meanwhile, Brady topped 300 yards for just the second time against Rivers’ Chargers, finishing with 317 and two scores in the win.
For their careers, Rivers has six touchdowns and nine interceptions in games against Brady. Perhaps not coincidentally, his win when Brady was absent is also the one time that he’s faced New England without throwing an interception. On the other side of the coin, Brady has 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions in games against Rivers. He’s taken much better care of the football in the regular season, as the Chargers have only intercepted him twice in four regular-season games where Rivers was the quarterback.