The big showdown among quarterbacks as far as Chargers fans are concerned was last week when San Diego beat Eli Manning and the Giants. Manning spurned San Diego when he was drafted and forced a trade that netted Philip Rivers. "You knew it was there," Rivers said of the link between he and Manning.
The quarterback matchup this week is no less intriguing, as Rivers and the Chargers face Donovan McNabb and the Eagles. One answered questions this week about a fourth-quarter comeback and throwing a touchdown pass to beat the Giants. The other answered questions about the team's poor record when trailing in the fourth quarter. (The Eagles are 0-2 when trailing after three quarters this season and 5-1 when leading after three.)
Here is McNabb on the lack of fourth-quarterback comebacks: “I think a lot of that is kind of overblown. There is a lot that goes into fourth-quarter comebacks. It could be catches, it could be doing the right things running the ball, it could be special teams picking up yards or special teams stopping them from getting good field position, it could be the defense stopping them. It’s not just driving down and scoring, because if they get the ball they can do the same. [There] is a lot [that goes] into that.”
Here is Rivers on the Chargers' putting together a late game-winning drive (Rivers has engineered 11 game-winning TD drives in the fourth quarter in his career): "This goes two ways. If we don’t win that game, it goes, ‘Chargers can’t run the ball. They can’t finish big games. They can’t beat good teams.’ And then all of a sudden it’s reversed. And we played the same game except for eight plays. I don’t get caught up in it either way. Huge win, but we’re one game better and we’ve got a long way to go. This is a big emotional win that can keep us ascending towards where we want to go."
Late-game heroics notwithstanding, who has the edge at QB this week, according to Domo's Scouting Report?
Eagles: Donovan McNabb’s been all over the map this season. He’s had two games with 140-plus passer ratings (wins over Bucs and Giants) and two with sub-70 ratings (losses to Raiders and Cowboys). He’s 29th in the league in fourth-quarter passing, with a 51.6 completion percentage and a 5.13 yards-per-attempt average.
Chargers: With an unproductive ground game that is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, Chargers have become a throwing team, and Phillip Rivers has responded. He’s thrown 11 TD passes and just three INTs in the last five games. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. His receivers know that if they get open, he’ll get the ball to them.
We have talked much about the Eagles' injury issues this week, but the Chargers have a few as well.
Linebacker Shawne Merriman missed his second consecutive day of practice with soreness in his foot. The injury has been bothering him for a few weeks. He also did not practice last Friday but still played against the Giants.
Linebacker Shaun Phillips also missed his second day of practice with an ankle injury, but is expected to play. Defensive lineman Ogemdi Nwagbuo and linebacker Jyles Tucker missed practice with ankle injuries. Nwagbuo has been nursing his ankle through every week to get ready to play Sundays. Tucker will likely miss this week.
Center Nick Hardwick, trying to recover from ankle surgery, will not play. He was unable to finish practice Wednesday and will try again next week.
Tight end Antonio Gates (foot) and running back LaDainian Tomlinson returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session.
Be sure to check our our new feature as Eagles right tackle Winston Justice provides his insights exclusively to Daily News readers. Here is his first column.
To see what we'll be watching in Sunday's game, click here.