The New England Patriots turned things over to Bailey Zappe on Sunday, but it did not matter as the offense was shutout in a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. It marks the second time this season New England has been held scoreless at home as they now drop to 2-10 on the season.
Here's everything that went down at Gillette Stadium.
Final Score: (2-10) Patriots 0 : 6 Chargers (5-7)
The Chargers won the toss and deferred, giving Bailey Zappe and the Patriots offense first crack in a rainy Gillette Stadium. Zappe’s first pass of the day fell incomplete to DeVante Parker before a Rhamondre Stevenson handoff picked up just three yards. On third-down, a screen to Parker resulted in a quick three-and-out.
Justin Herbert’s first pass of the day went to Donald Parham for five yards before Austin Ekeler was stopped for no gain. On their own opening third-down, Herbert’s pass over the middle to Keenan Allen was broken up by Myles Bryant and incomplete.
A negative two-yard punt return by Bryant started New England’s next drive at their own 16-yard line. New England got on the move though, as two Stevenson touches set up a third-and-one which Zappe converted on a ‘tush-push’. After a substitution penalty then set New England up with a second-and-14, a 11-yard completion to Smith-Schuster and run from Stevenson moved the chains again. The Patriots were able to move the ball into LA territory mainly keeping the ball on the ground, before the plan backfired. On second-and-five at LA’s 32-yard line, Stevenson lost a fumble which the Chargers recovered.
The Patriots defense held strong after the turnover, as three straight runs from the Chargers combined for nine yards.
Injury update: RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) is questionable to return.
Taking backed up at their own six-yard line, Los Angeles’ defense then held strong. After a six-yard run by Ezekiel Elliott, two incompletions led to another punt.
A 70-yard punt from Bryce Baringer set the Chargers’ next drive up inside their own 20. Herbert quickly got on the move, as he found Gerald Everett off a coverage bust on their second play for 26 yards. After a false start, Herbert then found Keenan Allen for the first time to pick it all back up and move the chains in the process. Facing a third-and-nine, Herbert’s pass fell incomplete leading to another punt.
Another strong punt from J.K. Scott started the Patriots offense at their own nine-yard line. Two straight touches for Elliott set them up in a third-and-two situation, where a handoff to the back was blown up by Morgan Fox for a loss.
Injury update: DB Shaun Wade (illness) is questionable to return.
The Chargers’ got their best field position to start their next drive open midfield, where a screen to Ekeler then quickly picked up a new set of downs. A completion to rookie Quentin Johnston and run by Ekeler moved the chains again, before LA then faced a third-and-six from the 20. Herbert’s pass to Keenan Allen was incomplete, leading to a field goal. Cameron Dicker’s 38-yard field goal was good to open the scoring. [Patriots 0 : 3 Chargers]
Trailing by three, New England hit their biggest play of the day as a screen to Elliott broke free for a 23-yard catch-and-run. Things then went backwards after an incompletion downfield to Smith-Schuster and delay of game, as Zappe was forced to throw it away on third-down.
A one-yard rush by Ekeler was followed by two short completions to pick up an opening first down for the Chargers. Two more runs set up a third-and-one, where a handoff to Ekeler moved the chains again. LA then faced yet another third-down, in which Josh Uche blew up an end around for a loss.
The Patriots took back over at their own nine with 2:02 left in the half. A predictable first-down screen to Parker was incomplete before Elliott was then brought down for a loss. On third-and-15 after a Chargers timeout and false start, Zappe missed an open Elliott in the flat leading to a punt.
A 34-yard punt return set the Chargers offense up at the New England 27-yard line with 1:25 left in the half. After a quick seven-yard completion to Johnston, New England held strong forcing back-to-back incompletions. Dicker’s 38-yard field goal was good. [Patriots 0 : 6 Chargers]
With 31 seconds left, a handoff to Elliott picked up six yards and ended the half.
Injury update: RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) and DB Shaun Wade (illness) have been downgraded to out.
The Chargers started the second half with a drop and incompletion, setting up a quick third-and-10. Herbert looked left for Johnston, but his pass was broken up by J.C. Jackson forcing a punt.
New England’s first drive of the second half started fast, as Zappe stepped up in the pocket off play action to hit DeVante Parker on a crosser for 21 yards. Playing with some tempo, Elliott recorded five touches to move the ball across midfield before Zappe kept one himself on fourth-and-three to move the chains. Things then went backwards as LA recorded back-to-back sacks to push New England out of field goal range.
Bryce Baringer’s punt set up LA at their own seven-yard line, where two straight touches to Joshua Kelly set up a third-and-eight. With pressure coming up the middle, Herbert found Johnston down the left sideline for 27 yards. Back-to-back completions picked up another fresh set of downs before the Chargers again faced another third-and-long. From midfield, Herbert threw a strike over the middle to Allen for 16 yards and a first-down. After Jahlani Tavai blew up a screen and a Chargers drop, Herbert’s pass on third-and-12 went in-and-out of Johnston’s hands downfield.
A beautiful punt from J.K Scott in the coffin corner started New England at their own two-yard line. The Patriots quickly got out of the tough position, as Zappe hit Parker down the right sideline for 27 yards. Two plays later, Zappe’s pass down the left sideline went through the arms of Tyquan Thornton setting up a third-and-five - where Zappe was able to avoid pressure before hitting Hunter Henry over the middle. With a new set of downs, Zappe was then sacked on second-down before hitting Jalen Reagor to force a punt.
Back with the ball to start the fourth quarter, the Chargers picked up a pair of first downs before facing a third-and-three by midfield. Herbert kept it himself and was brought down for a loss leading to another punt.
On the Patriots second play from scrimmage, a reverse to Tyquan Thornton went for New England’s biggest play of the day as the speedster hit the edge for a 39-yard gain. Then facing a third-and-three from the LA 28, Zappe was sacked to set-up a fourth-and-five. With the offense still on the field, the QB was brought back again for a turnover on downs.
The Chargers took back over after the turnover with just under seven minutes remaining and picked up a quick first-down despite a false start penalty. Then facing a third-and-three from just across midfield, Herbert’s pass was dropped by Parham leading to a punt.
Down six with 4:36 remaining, Bailey Zappe and Co. started at their own 12-yard line. New England’s first play went for 12 yards as Zappe hit Parker on a slant. On then third-and-two, Zappe went back to his receiver who drew a pass interference penalty. Two plays later, Zappe uncorked one downfield to Parker who hauled it in, but could not get his feet inbounds. A third-and-eight pass was then tipped and nearly intercepted, before Zappe’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
The Chargers took over after the turnover on downs over midfield with 1:58 remaining. Two handoffs forced New England to use their final two timeouts and left LA with a third-and-11. The Chargers went to ice the game and Herbert hit Alex Erickson for 23 yards. They then kneeled out the clock. [Patriots 0 : 6 Chargers]