Scott Fowler

In 13th season, Philip Rivers finally gets to play in Charlotte

It’s been so long since the San Diego Chargers played in Charlotte that Philip Rivers (17) was a backup to Drew Brees at the time.
It’s been so long since the San Diego Chargers played in Charlotte that Philip Rivers (17) was a backup to Drew Brees at the time. Getty Images

Most of the NFL’s top quarterbacks have played in Charlotte at one time or the other over the past two decades.

Finally, it is Philip Rivers’ turn.

Because of the quirks of the league schedule, the San Diego Chargers haven’t played at Bank of America Stadium since 2004. And that was so long ago that when the Chargers did play in Charlotte a dozen years ago – beating the Panthers 17-6 – Drew Brees was their quarterback and Rivers didn’t even get in the game.

So this is a long overdue trip for the former N.C. State star. I still remember traveling to Columbus, Ohio, in 2003, to watch Rivers and N.C. State play one of the best college games I have ever seen. The Wolfpack lost in triple overtime, 44-38, to Ohio State. Sunday’s game probably won’t be that dramatic, but I’m glad Rivers will be involved in it.

▪  Former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme will have some loyalty issues Sunday. Delhomme and San Diego coach Mike McCoy are very close – McCoy was Delhomme’s quarterbacks coach for all of Delhomme’s best years at Carolina. The McCoy and Delhomme families still vacation together. Delhomme makes a point to cheer for both the Panthers and the Chargers every weekend.

▪  The Panthers are trying to avoid going 0-for-the-AFC-West Sunday – they have already lost to Oakland, Kansas City and Denver. For those who like to think ahead, the Panthers and the rest of the NFC South will play the AFC East in 2017 (New England, Buffalo, Miami and the N.Y. Jets).

▪  Prediction time. I have correctly picked the Panthers’ outcome the past five weeks in a row to go 8-4 on the season. On Sunday, I think the Panthers will have just enough against a similarly flawed San Diego team. My pick: Carolina 24, San Diego 21.

Fowler: 704-358-5140; Twitter: @scott_fowler

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