Philip Rivers was the fifth quarterback this season to throw for more than 300 yards against a Ravens secondary that springs leaks as fast as the coaching staff can fix them.
But he did so in a way that separates him from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger or the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees.
Rivers' 19th career fourth-quarter comeback, in which he led two touchdown drives in the final six minutes to erase a 10-point deficit and secure a 34-33 win at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, was set in motion by San Diego's commitment to pushing the pace with a no-huddle offense.
"When you have a quarterback like Philip Rivers, you have a chance to win every game as long as there is time left on the clock," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.
Rivers was in something resembling a hurry-up offense the whole game, but he did his primary damage as time waned in both halves. The former first-round pick torched the Ravens for 383 yards and three touchdowns, the second straight quarterback to throw for more than 380 yards against the Ravens.
Rivers completed more than 75 percent of his passes, but his mastery showed on a late first-half field-goal drive and in the two late fourth-quarter touchdown drives he led to secure San Diego's eighth win of the season.
On those three drives alone, which spanned just less than six minutes and resulted in 17 points, Rivers was 14 of 20 for 151 yards and two touchdowns, slicing apart a tired Ravens defense and hitting five different receivers.
"I don't think they were ready for our no-huddle offense," Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd said. "We saw they were a little winded, and we tried to take advantage of that."
The Ravens scrambled to set up against that offense multiple times, with reserve safety Jeromy Miles elevated to a starting role and a host of new cornerbacks tasked with covering San Diego's receivers. Rivers stopped short of calling the Ravens' defense panicked at times, but he noticed the confusion and worked to exploit it.
"We were going so fast," Rivers said. "That's why we like to go fast. … You put them in a little state of 'Oh [no], they're going.' You feel them really having to over-communicate to get lined up.
"But we certainly felt like when we could sustain some of those drives, and we were going fast, that's when we had the advantage."
The Ravens led, 10-0, before Rivers completed a pass, thanks to an interception that Elvis Dumervil forced and Daryl Smith caught early in the first quarter.
But Rivers threw just four incompletions the rest of the first half, with 134 passing yards and a touchdown to keep San Diego in the game. When he got the ball back with 1:41 left in the second quarter and 80 yards of field ahead of him, Rivers gave a preview of the efficiency that doomed the Ravens in the fourth quarter.
Rivers completed four of six passes for 28 yards on the drive, with two more incompletions negated by penalties that led to first downs. He also stepped out of the pocket and scrambled for 10 yards, including a first down, on the drive -- in stark contrast with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who passed on opportunities to run multiple times Sunday.
Rivers had similar success when San Diego took possession with 6:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, leaning on wide receiver Keenan Allen for three catches, 46 yards and a touchdown on the drive and requiring just 2:33 seconds to pull within a field goal of the Ravens.
Rivers needed less than two minutes on the final touchdown drive, and the no-huddle, hurry-up offense was all at once controlled and frenzied.
Far from his opposite number, Flacco, whom teammates continually call "Joe Cool," and laud for his steady demeanor, wide receiver Eddie Royal said Rivers "sounded like a little kid" when they huddled before the game's final drive.
"We were ready to win the game," said Royal, who caught the deciding 1-yard touchdown.