INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Reich is well aware of the significant swings of emotion that surround a team's starting quarterback throughout any given season.
When the team wins, Reich says the quarterback usually probably gets a little bit too much praise; when the team loses, the QB probably bears the brunt of a little bit too much of the blame. In reality, the truth, as it often does, usually lies somewhere in the middle.
Reich said that's certainly the case at the moment as it pertains to the Indianapolis Colts' starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, who had two costly second-half interceptions — one of which turning into a pick-six — and was also called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety, in Sunday's 32-23 road loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Asked today in his weekly Monday video conference with local reporters if he's considering making a change at the quarterback position moving forward, Reich didn't hesitate.
"No, no consideration for that," Reich said. "Philip is our quarterback."
Rivers' performance Sunday against the Browns was a little bit of a tale of two halves. In the first half, with the Cleveland offense dominating the time-of-possession battle and limiting the Colts to just three offensive series, Rivers completed 8-of-11 passes for 120 yards.
On Indy's opening drive, he connected with wide receiver Marcus Johnson deep down the field on 3rd and 6 from the Cleveland 48-yard line, gaining 36 yards to the 12. Four plays later, on 4th and 2 from the 4, Jonathan Taylor would jog into the end zone untouched off the left side, giving the Colts an early 7-3 lead.
On the Colts' second offensive drive, Rivers delivered another terrific, well-placed deep ball over the top, this time to receiver Ashton Dulin, which was good for 34 yards to the Cleveland 21. Indy would end up getting a Rodrigo Blankenship 32-yard field goal four plays later to tie the game at 10 at the 10:18 mark of the second quarter.
The second half was a different story, however.
The Colts, who went into halftime trailing by 10, 20-10, were moving the ball a bit on their opening drive of the third quarter, but facing 3rd and 4 from the Indy 47, Rivers felt some pressure off the edge, stepped up into the pocket and fired a pass to his left towards wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. But safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. read it the whole way, picking it off and running it back 47 yards to the end zone for a crushing pick six to put the Browns up 27-10.
At this point of the ballgame, the Colts' defensive and special teams units really started to click. Rookie Isaiah Rodgers took the ensuing kickoff 101 yards to the house for a touchdown; Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, would then tally as many completions (two) as interceptions over the final two quarters, giving the Indianapolis offense every opportunity to get back into the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, however, backed deep into Indianapolis territory, Rivers dropped back in the end zone but launched a deep pass out of bounds to his left after feeling the heat from defensive end Myles Garrett and others; the officials would call intentional grounding on the play, resulting in a safety and two more points for the Browns.
Rivers would then throw his second interception of the half on the Colts' next drive as he tried to force a throw into a tight window to tight end Mo Alie-Cox; an Anthony Walker interception of Mayfield on the ensuing Cleveland drive would limit the damage done there, but the Browns were able to milk more than four minutes off the game clock by that point.
The Colts' offense was unable to find the end zone the rest of the way, and Cleveland would snap Indy's three-game winning streak with its nine-point home victory.
Rivers finished the game completing 21-of-33 pass attempts (63.6 percent) for 243 yards with two interceptions for a QB rating of 60.5. On the year, he's completed 109-of-154 passes (70.8 percent) with four touchdowns to five interceptions; his QB rating is 89.4.
After pouring over the game film on Monday, Reich said "every play gets weighted for what it is." While Rivers didn't have his best performance on Sunday, particularly in the second half, the coaching staff isn't going to overreact and make drastic changes for a team that sits at 3-2 heading into this Sunday's home matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Obviously the interception that he threw to start the second half – I mean he told you, it was a bad play, and you're going to have those," Reich said. "I told you that I made a bad call (on the safety). That's the way our players and coaches are, we take responsibility for the bad plays that we have. You throw enough balls in this league – what did I see, he is one of five players in the history of the NFL to have how many completions that he passed this week. I mean you're going to throw some, and that is one that I'm sure he would like to have back.
"You guys know how I feel about quarterback play: the quarterback gets too much credit, too much blame," Reich continued. "That doesn't mean the quarterback has some games that aren't better than others and some games aren't worse than others. That's for each of us to weigh as we see it. We weigh it internally. We look at all the plays. The ones that he made, he did make a number of good plays in the game. Obviously, he made some mistakes. We all made mistakes — coaches and players — in every phase. The quarterback is just going to always get more blame and more credit than he deserves, but he is still held accountable internally for everything that he does just like every other player is. The quarterback is no different than anybody else."