Chargers QB Philip Rivers: "It's always a physical game"

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Q: Were you aware that you've beaten the Raiders more than any other quarterback in NFL history?

Rivers:"I was not. I was not."

Q: What does this rivalry mean to you?

Rivers:"Each year stands alone and there are a lot of different guys that have played me in games over the year. It's not like the same team is going against one another over the last decade. But it's always a physical game, it's always a division game. I think the rivalry in itself, because of the turnover that there always is in the NFL, that there are certain guys that haven't been a part of this Chargers/Raiders game as much as others. But I know for the fans as well, the rivalry is with them as much as anything. Just the fact that it's a division opponent, obviously the Chiefs are a rival, the Broncos, because it's a division game. But I think it being in state, just so many Chargers and Raiders fans that enhances the rivalry."

Q: Is your arm extra sore after so many passes on Sunday?

Rivers:"No, it's just fine."

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Q: What's it been like getting Antonio Gates back? And with the Raiders struggling against tight ends, is there some opportunity there with a guy like Antonio?**

Rivers:"It's been great getting [Antonio] Gates back. Obviously we missed him those four weeks, but Ladarius [Green] stepped up big and did a nice job and everybody did. But certainly it's great getting him back. He's off to a great start the last two weeks. It's Oakland defense. The one thing I think you always say about an Oakland defense, and I know there's been coaching changes and different things that have gone on there with the years, but is the speed. It's a great team speed on that defense from the pass rushers to the backers to the secondary. Gosh, No. 24, Woodson. Charles is playing unbelievable, it's amazing. I have such respect for him as a player and how he's done it over his whole career. He's playing awesome. They're coming off a bye and they're hungry. They very well could have won that last one against Denver. We're coming off two heart-breaking losses, so it's going to be two teams that are hungry and know how important it is to win a division game and we have to get back on track."

Q: Keenan Allen is putting up good numbers. Where have you seen growth from him this season?

Rivers: "I really think, and it may be a cliché answer, but I really think it goes all the way back to the offseason. I think he is figuring out and has figured it out in a lot of ways how to be a pro. And that's not to say that he didn't work hard and didn't do a lot of good things as a rookie and even in his second year. But I just think he's really grown in that aspect. Day in and day out, the way he's worked, the way he's practiced, this training camp that he's had, just his consistency has been there, and I think it's shown up here in the first six weeks. Obviously with the number of catches, but just how well he's played. He's made some tough catches. He's playing a lot of plays and doing a lot of things really well. We're going to need him to keep producing the way he is. We've done a lot of good things that's only resulted in two wins. None of us are happy about that, but we are optimistic. We can see, gosh just keep going, keep pushing because eventually we believe it is going to translate into wins and we can get on a little bit of a roll. But you obviously have to win one game before you can win some in a row."

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An exclusive look at the AFC West rivalry that is the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers through the decades.

Q: What's your opinion on what Derek Carr has been able to do so early in his career?**

Rivers:"Just again the little I've watched from both when we've played them, obviously you watch some and then the games that have been on TV. I don't really know him, but I'll give you my two cents. I felt like even as a rookie he had the demeanor, and I don't know… He looks like a guy that can get guys to follow him and get guys to go and play. He looked like a guy that I go, 'He'll get it going.' You know what I mean? He looks like a guy that can make a group around him better and go. Even as a rookie it was kind of like shoot, if he can just consistently stay in there and play and they can get some continuity that you knew that he was plenty capable. He's obviously a young, talented guy. It seems like he and [Amari] Cooper have developed a rapport early on and you get [Michael] Crabtree in there. Again, I haven't obviously studied them, but just seeing them play and watching them play I think he's a good quarterback."

Q: How much pride do you take in your consecutive starts streak?

Rivers:"That's probably one of the ones that's most important to me really. I was able to be out there in everyone in college. So far after those first two years when I was backing up Drew [Brees] and then I've been able to be out there for everyone over the last 10 years now. Again, it's obviously being blessed with good health. And obviously a lot of guys up front fighting for you the way they do and the guys in the training room helping you when you have some nicks and bruises and helping you get to the next Sunday. There are a lot of things that factor in. It is important to me if at all possible to be out there every week and something I care a great deal about."

Q: Having two talented edge rushers in Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack, what does that do to your protection and how you have to go against these guys. Rivers:"It certainly is different. You go against a team that just has one guy that can change the game from a pass rushing, edge pass rusher standpoint, it doesn't affect you very much as far as how you can...(laughing)...let me rephrase that so you don't take it out of context. It doesn't affect your planning as much because you have one side and without adjusting your game plan very much, you can put guys on him and make sure he doesn't ruin the game. But when there are guys coming on both ends, you certainly have to be more conscience. They both can wreck a game, no question about it. There's certainly guys that are starred on the scouting report, edge guys you have to take care of. Our tackles are obviously going to have a heck of a challenge. We'll have to be able to manage that throughout the game, but we believe those guys can do a heck of a job. Last week Clay Matthews didn't play much end until late in the game, but he and [Julius] Peppers on the end, and our tackles, we dropped back 65 times, and they did a heck of a job. We have a great deal of confidence in them, but at the same time we have respect for those two guys as pass rushers."

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