If you ask Frank Reich, quarterback is not the issue for his Colts.
At 3-2, Indianapolis is far from a moment of crisis at the position. But one couldn’t watch Sunday’s 32-23 loss to the Cleveland Browns without wondering about the Colts’ viability going forward with Philip Rivers calling the shots.
No matter to Reich, who said Rivers is “the least” of his worries after the loss and on Monday shot down any thought of replacing him with Jacoby Brissett.
“No,” Reich said, per The Athletic’s Zak Keefer. “Philip is our quarterback.”
Rivers threw an ugly pick-six in the second half, and was also flagged for intentional grounding when he heaved a pass out of the end zone, with downtown Cleveland’s Public Square serving as the nearest eligible receiver. The untimely penalty produced a safety and two points for the Browns. The two errors combined to give the Browns’ their nine-point margin of victory.
One could point to the circumstances in which the veteran was performing Sunday. Rivers was without his starting left tackle, Anthony Castonzo, and Cleveland’s stellar pass rush unsurprisingly caused problems. Rivers was pressured at the highest rate (29.4 percent) he’s experienced this season in the loss, more than 10 percentage points higher than his total pressure rate through the first four weeks.
He had his first touchdown-less game as a Colt as a result, and posted his lowest passer rating (60.5) since Week 11 of 2019, back when he was still a Charger.
“My trust at the end of the day is that this guy is a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Reich said. “I have the utmost belief in him, and our team has the utmost belief in him, and you’re gonna have to live with some mistakes. We truly believe the good will far outweigh the bad.”
Indianapolis has been a team that has largely won with its defense, allowing just 14 points per game in its first four weeks. The Colts surrendered 32 Sunday, making for an uphill climb for Rivers, who ultimately couldn’t complete the task.
The Colts learned what they had in Brissett last season, prompting them to go out and sign Rivers to a one-year deal as somewhat of a stopgap. It’s unlikely they’ll turn to Brissett unless the situation becomes desperate. At 3-2, that simply isn’t the case, even after an ugly showing in Cleveland.
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