The game is finally here! The #2 New England Patriots host the #5 Los Angeles Chargers in what should be a hard-fought divisional round match-up for the right to face the Chiefs in Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game.
Can Tom Brady and company defend their home turn and take down the powerful Chargers? Or will Philip Rivers finally get his first win over Brady and end New England’s season?
Here’s all the information you need for today’s game. Go Patriots!
Date: Sunday, January 13, 2019
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
SB Nation affiliate: Bolts from the Blue
2019 NFL Playoffs: Live 2-minute Patriots vs. Chargers Preview
Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live 2-Minute Preview as the Patriots host the Chargers in this weekend's Divisional Round Match Up! Don't forget to tune in after the game on Sunday for the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame Show as well!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Thursday, January 10, 2019
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ADVANCED STATS: Patriots vs Chargers.
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The Chargers are scared of Cordarrelle Patterson so they signed a new kicker.
Both the Patriots and Chargers have changed a lot since last year.
FILM ROOM: How the Patriots can stop Chargers WR Keenan Allen.
A lot of Patriots will make their playoff debut.
7 keys to victory for the Patriots.
Inactives report: No Deatrich Wise, Adrian Clayborn makes his return.
Patriots win the opening coin toss and elect to receive the ball. This is a surprise as New England usually elect to receive.
The Patriots started the game relying heavily on James White, who won his matchups against the Chargers running backs, Sony Michel, who started to break through later in the drive, and Julian Edelman, who took advantage of the Chargers zone defense. Rob Gronkowski drew a defensive pass interference call on the goal line and Michel punched it in for a score and a 7-0 lead. New England used up nearly half of the first quarter for this drive.
Whoops. Stephon Gilmore lost Keenan Allen in coverage and Allen scored a 43-yard touchdown. It looked like Gilmore bit on an inside move by Allen and the receiver was wide open. I’m not sure if Gilmore was playing zone and expected safety help over the top, but he was responsible in coverage. The game is tied 7-7.
That’s a great way to respond! Sony Michel scampered in for a 14-yard score and a 14-7 lead. Michel and White and Edelman were again responsible for the whole drive.
The Patriots defense showed up and forced the Chargers to punt. Tom Brady started to get Phillips Dorsett involved and marched back down the field, capping it off with touchdown pass to Dorsett for a 21-7 lead.
The Patriots defense showed up again to get the ball back to New England. Dont’a Hightower and the run defense did a great job forcing and-long situations and generating pressure. Hightower is having his best game of the season.
Michel and White picked up huge chunk yardage on the ground and Rex Burkhead punched in the score for a 28-7 lead. The Patriots are crushing the Chargers’ run defense because Los Angeles doesn’t have any linebackers. The cold is hurting the Chargers, too. Let the record show that my prediction of 24 points by the Patriots Ian laughable and terrible.
Hightower and the defense were stellar and forced another punt. What an outstanding performance by New England defensive front 7.
Brady and the offense stalled for the first time today. Ryan Allen punted and the Chargers muffed the ball. Albert McClellan recovered it, giving the ball back to Brady and the offense. Brady found Edelman to get into the red zone for the two-minute warning. Dorsett snagged a pass to get an and-goal situation and Michel punched it in for his third touchdown of the game and a 35-7 lead. This is a blowout.
Trey Flowers picked up a sack on first down and J.C. Jackson knocked away the third down pass to force another punt with 62 seconds left in the half. Jackson has been lights out today.
New England made it to field goal range, but the officials blew a quick forward progress whistle as Dorsett was going out of bounds and allowed the running clock to end the half.
Edelman has 107 yards on 7 catches. Michel and 114 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns. White has 71 receiving yards on 10 catches. Dorsett has 41 yards and a touchdown.
Rob Gronkowski doesn’t have a single target.
Outside of the Chargers’ first drive with Gilmore’s blown coverage, the Patriots defense has been incredible. Melvin Gordon only has 17 yards on 6 carries and now Los Angeles has to be one dimensional in the second half.
Gilmore has shut down Allen outside of that touchdown, with that being his lone target of the game. Jackson and Jason McCourty have locked down the other Chargers receivers and Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty have erased the tight ends from the game.
The Chargers get the ball after the half.
After forcing a three-and-out on defense, the Patriots drive right down the field — they convert a 4th and 1 in the process — to settle for a field goal and go up 38-7.
The Chargers respond by driving the length of the field to score their second touchdown of the day. Leading up to the score, the Patriots unsuccessfully challenged a fumble by L.A. but the team remained in possession. New England is still up 38-14, though.
The Patriots add another long scoring drive to their résumé — their seventh score on nine possessions: New England goes 63 yards in eight plays, before a Stephen Gostkowski field goal made it a four possession game again. New England is up 41-14 with a little over 12 minutes left in the game.
The Patriots defense forced another three-and-out to get the ball back to the Patriots, but Michel was unable to get a first down on his three carries as the team drained the clock and New England punted the ball back.
The Chargers picked up chunk yardage on their next drive and challenged a deep pass to Keenan Allen that was originally ruled incomplete. That brought the Chargers to the 1-yard line, where Philip Rivers found Virgil Green for a 1-yard score. Allen caught the two-point conversion to make the score 41-22.
The Patriots took over and managed to drain two more minutes off the clock before punting back to the Chargers, with Allen pinning them on the 2-yard line. Los Angeles converted a third down to get to the 14-yard line before Stephon Gilmore intercepted a pass intended for Keenan Allen to set up Brady and the Patriots offense in field goal range on the Chargers 33-yard line.
Well, that didn’t work. Joe Thuney was flagged for holding to knock New England out of field goal range and the Patriots decided to drain another minute off the clock and force the Chargers to use their timeouts before punting back to Los Angeles with 3 minutes left in the game. This one’s over.
Hooray garbage time. The Chargers used up two minutes to score a touchdown (Rivers to Antonio Gates) but they failed to convert on their two-point attempt and New England leads 41-28 with a minute left in the game. If New England recovers the kick off they can kneel out the clock.
Nate Ebner recovered the onside kick. This game is over. The Patriots are going to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
Welcome to Pats Pulpit Live: Victory Edition! The Patriots whooped the Chargers 41-22 and will be heading to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in next week's AFC Championship Game!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, January 13, 2019