The team is 2-4 now, he says. But it's been 4-8 and finished 8-8. It made the playoffs. It's been 2-3 and made it to 5-5 and then 11-5. It made the playoffs.
Like play calls from inside a huddle, the numbers he recalls give his teammates direction.
“I hear things,” Rivers said. “I try to be aware of everything and how it can affect us and what maybe I can use or we can use to help us understand how long it's been. ...They don't call the season off just because you're 2-4. We got to keep fighting and battling because we've been here before and we've gotten out of it before.”
There is a fine line Rivers is drawing.
His team should not be panicking. The silver lining to Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Rams was that every other team in the AFC West lost. While not capitalizing on the chance to make up some ground on the first-place Chiefs (3-2), the team didn't lose any ground, either.
But the Chargers can't feel relaxed. They can't be pacified.
“Last time we were 2-4 — I say 'we,' but it was the year (2003) before I got here — we turned it into 4-12,” Rivers said. “At the same time, we have to understand that this thing can get away from us, and I and we are going to fight like crazy not to let that happen.”