The Patriots have improved to 6-6 following a trouncing of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Surprisingly, the Chargers were favored to win this game by many websites/sportsbooks. It clearly did not go that way. These sources mustn't have remembered how Bill Belichick tends to flummox rookie QBs. QB Cam Newton accounted for 3 Offensive TDs (1 Passing, 2 Rushing). Backup QB Jarrett Stidham also tacked on an additional TD in garbage time. The Patriots Defense and Special Teams were also immaculate. Early in the game, WR Gunner Olszewski took a punt return for a TD. This 70-yard return served as redemption for Olszewski, who had a punt return TD negated by penalty last week against Arizona. Olszewski clearly remembered this, as he made flag throwing gestures following the punt return TD. Olszewski also caught a nice pass for a TD, via backup Jarrett Stidham in garbage time.
The Patriots' defensive drives were mostly stress-free. These included a Blocked FG, 3 4th down stops, 2 interceptions, and 3 punts. The Blocked FG occurred as time expired in the first half, with special teamers Cody Davis and Justin Bethel jumping the snap. Safety Devin McCourty picked up the rolling ball, and never looked back, returning it 44 yards for the score. Cornerback JC Jackson also added his 7th interception of the season 2 drives later (albeit on 4th down). This, of course, came following the drive where DE Chase Winovich intercepted a Justin Herbert pass. That play kind of summed up the game for the Chargers’ surprisingly anemic offense, which never reached the red zone.
This triumphant win puts the Patriots a step closer to the playoffs. The Patriots are up to the 10th spot in the AFC. They could be even higher if the Raiders had not pulled off a late miracle against the Jets. Still, if the Raiders drop another game, the Patriots would move ahead of them if they have the same record due to head to head record. This same scenario also applies to the Ravens, who sit a game ahead of the Patriots. The Patriots face a challenge next week against the Rams, but if they win, they would be in good playoff standing ahead of their final 3 games.
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Images via AP Photo