Here we go, game 2 of the AFC division finals. This tilt would put the New England Patriots (11-5) against the Los Angeles Chargers (13-5). You wouldn’t think the Patriots would be a bye team after their shaky start and Miami’s very strong start, but as per usual here they are again. The City of Los Angeles on the other hand after having no teams in the league at all a couple years ago, now have 2 in the NFL division round. The Chargers winning a thriller against the Pittsburgh Steelers, are now looking to play the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC conference final. However going through the Patriots is far easier said than done as the Chargers would soon find out.
Drawing first blood in this contest would be the Patriots, courtesy of Sony Michel. Michel would punch through the line for a 1 yard touchdown and the 7-0 New England lead. The Chargers would respond in kind with a major score of their own. Philip Rivers would find a wide open Keenan Allen for the 43 yard touchdown knotting this one up at 7-7. This wouldn’t sit well with the Patriots who would jump right back in the lead. Michel would find pay dirt again, this time from a 14 yard scamper putting the Patriots up 14-7 after the 1st. The second quarter definitely had the home crowd buzzing as it was all New England. First to score in the quarter was Tom Brady who tossed a 20 yard strike to Phillip Dorsett, widening the gap to 21-7. They continued to add to the lead as Rex Burkhead would get on the score sheet with a 6 yard rushing touchdown making it 28-7. Unsatisfied with not being on the score sheet for the 2nd, Michel would get his 3rd rushing touchdown of the game. This one from 5 yards out, making it 35-7 at halftime.
That’s where the Patriots offence fizzled out and the Chargers began the comeback attempt. New England would open the scoring in the half with a 28 yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski for the 38-7 lead. The Chargers would score a touchdown after that as Melvin Gordon would get on the board with a 1 yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 38-14. This was still a large gap to overcome in the 4th, but the Chargers were starting to heat up. First though Gostkowski would knock home a 30 field goal to put the Patriots up 41-14 to start the quarter. That’s the last points New England would score, and as such the Chargers went to work. First to score in the quarter for Los Angeles was Rivers on a 1 yard play-action pass to Virgil Green, making it 41-22 with a successful 2-point convert. Rivers would find pay dirt again in the final quarter. This time it was an 8 yard pass to Antonio Gates, but with a failure to convert on the 2-point convert the score would be 41-28. That’s where we’d finish as the victory propels New England to yet another AFC conference final.
Unlike last nights games, this was more of an airshow, that being said there were some impressive running performances as well. Tom Brady as expected had a strong game passing going 34/44 for 343 yards and 1 touchdown. The Chargers pivot Philip Rivers despite the loss had a very strong game going 25/51 for 331 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The star of today’s show was Patriots running back Sony Michel who had 129 yards and 3 touchdowns on 24 carries. There was very little success for Melvin Gordon today as he only picked up 15 yards on 9 carries, but he did score 1 touchdown. Despite not scoring a major, Julian Edelman made the Chargers pay getting 151 yards on 9 catches. Los Angeles’ top air threat also didn’t score a touchdown, but Tyrell Williams still had a respectable 94 yards on 5 catches. Stephen Gostkowski was the only kicker who had any field goal attempts and he went a perfect 2/2.
Highlights of the game can be viewed Here!
This means the New England Patriots will advance to the AFC conference final to play the Kansas City Chiefs for the right to play for the Super Bowl. Stay tuned for the NFC recap on Fandomwire.