Patriots Survive Chargers – Head Into Bye Week 6-2
The Chargers were coming off a three game win streak so the Patriots knew it would be a tough contest and were determined to stop their momentum. It was a close one as it came down to a final Chargers drive that ended in a Jonathan Jones interception. The turning point of the game was during the second quarter with the score 7-7. On a Patriots punt that looked like would be fair caught by Travis Benjamin of the Chargers at the ten yard line, instead, he muffed it and then retreated back ten yards until he was eventually swarmed by multiple Patriots in the end zone for a safety. The Patriots offense than turned that into three more points making the score 12-7 and was able to hold a lead for the rest of the game and pulled out a 21-13 victory.
Defense and special teams led the way in this one as the offense was unable to execute in the red area only scoring one touchdown and mustering just 21 points. It would have been 27 points if not for two missed field goals by Stephen Gostkowski who was 4-6 on the day but great on kick offs forcing the Chargers to return kicks allowing the coverage units of the Patriots to pin LA within the 20 yard line multiple times.
The defense has now allowed 12.75 points per game through the last four weeks (3rd in the NFL) while giving up 32 points per game through the first four weeks of the season (31st in the NFL).
Special teams proved a pivotal role in being responsible for 14 of the Patriots 21 points while also providing the Patriots with great field position and keeping the Chargers from doing so. Dion Lewis had a 71 yard kick off return while Danny Amendola had good punt returns netting a 6.5 average and a long of 12. The Chargers missed a 51 yard field goal attempt on their first drive which may have been a result of a strong middle push by the Patriots field-goal unit.
The offense moved the ball pretty well but for the most part were not able to slow down the elite pass rush of the Chargers front seven as Tom Brady was getting pressured most of the game. They won the important time of possession battle 36:59 to 23:01. However, the amount of points left on the field is concerning and their were some plays that should’ve been made that were not executed.
After the bye week the Patriots will hopefully have cleaned up those areas on offense and continue to improve on defense and special teams as they are still looking for a complete 60 minute performance of good complimentary football.