What we learned from Chargers’ loss to the Chiefs: Is Philip Rivers leaving?

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers runs toward the locker room after Sunday's season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
(David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Here’s what we learned from the Chargers’ 31-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday:

KEENAN ALLEN ISN’T READY TO SAY GOODBYE TO PHILIP RIVERS: The Chargers’ No. 1 wide receiver said he never considered Rivers not being with the team in 2020 before the questions started coming at him after the game Sunday. “I haven’t really thought about it because I don’t plan on it” happening, Allen said. “But, it’d be tough for me. He’s been my quarterback the whole time. To even think about him playing with somebody else would be tough, just the camaraderie and the connection that we have.” Allen, who just completed his seventh season, pointed to his second-quarter touchdown against Kansas City as an example of the way he and Rivers can sometimes think as one. “That wasn’t the route that we had,” Allen said. “It was just something that we were able to see together.” The 12-yard scoring pass gave the Chargers a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.

MELVIN GORDON REGRETS HOW HIS 2019 WENT DOWN: As little as his failed contract holdout accomplished at the time, the running back now knows it did even more damage — to him and the team. “Me starting so slow,” Gordon said, explaining his reasoning. “I want to start when everyone else is starting, building up and then you kinda get in your rhythm when everyone else is getting in theirs.” He missed all of training camp, the preseason and the first four games of the regular season before returning. Gordon, in the final year of his rookie deal, wanted an extension that now won’t come until this offseason, perhaps with the Chargers or, more likely, another team. He finished 2019 with 612 rushing yards — his career low — but did score eight total touchdowns. “You’re not getting thrown into the fire or taking four games” to get in football shape, Gordon said. “You mess up a lot of chemistry, I feel like, just to begin with because you’re trying to catch up to everyone.” Not surprisingly, he admitted this year was his most difficult. He said his holdout extended a month into the season in part because he was being encouraged to stay away from the team by other running backs in the league. “It’s just the position we play,” Gordon said. “I hope another back in my position doesn’t have to go through that.”


Quarterback Philip Rivers gets choked up while talking about his accomplishments with the Chargers following a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 season finale.

TIGHT END HUNTER HENRY WANTS TO RETURN BUT WHO KNOWS? After he walked off the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Hunter Henry said he didn’t think too much about that walk possibly being his final one in a Chargers uniform. But he admitted that free agency was a subject that couldn’t be completely ignored. “Those thoughts can’t help but go in your head,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it here. I enjoy this locker room. I enjoy these guys. I enjoy this team. Hopefully, I can continue to be a part of it going forward.” Having completed his fourth NFL season, Henry is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. He was a second-round pick out of Arkansas in 2016. In the fourth quarter against the Chiefs, he caught the 17th touchdown pass of his career. Henry, who is known for having reliable hands and is considered a solid blocker, is in line for a significant payday at a position that isn’t deep league-wide. “It’s out of my hands now,” he said. “I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ve given a lot to this organization and been through a lot of trials here, too.”

DAMION SQUARE WOULD LIKE TO STAY, TOO, BUT WHO KNOWS II? Having been with the team since 2014, the veteran has proved to be a versatile contributor along the defensive line. Square has the ability to play inside and outside, an important quality in an era when teams love to use rotations up front. He also is set to become an unrestricted free agent. “We’ll see what happens,” Square said. “I feel like I did some great things for this organization. I feel good about being here, staying here. But it’s a business. I’m confident in the things I put on tape. I’m sure I’ll be playing for a very good football team next year.”

DRUE TRANQUILL WON’T REST ON A SOLID ROOKIE SEASON: The fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame was easily the most productive member of the Chargers’ 2019 draft class. Tranquill began the year as a regular contributor on special teams but steadily emerged into a more prominent role on defense. The young linebacker had five tackles against the Chiefs. “I got a lot to improve on,” Tranquill said. “I think it was good year of learning.” He credited the guidance of veteran linebackers Thomas Davis and Denzel Perryman. Tranquill said one of his goals for the offseason is to study more tape in hopes of improving his pre-snap reads to better position himself. “The second you become satisfied with how you played is the second you’ll get either beat out or passed up and you’re out of the business,” he said. “I was able to make some plays this year at critical times. But I also didn’t make some plays at critical times. The goal is to be a better player next year.”