Patriots Advance to Eighth Straight AFC Championship with Divisional Round Blowout over Chargers
Foxborough, MA - Tom Brady and the New England Patriots did not take long to silence all of the doubters who were giving them a poor chance to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in this year's AFC Divisional Round matchup as they began their rout of the Philip Rivers-led team from the first drive of the game and never relented.
Despite being 0-7 against Brady in his career, many NFL fans and experts gave the edge to Los Angeles in the game, but the Patriots left little room for doubt that they are still the same dominant NFL team that they have always been.
Surprisingly opting to receive the first half kickoff rather than defer, as they usually do, the Patriots set the tempo by devouring half of the time in the first quarter and capping off the drive with a Sony Michel touchdown run. The Chargers answered right back with a forty-three yard touchdown to Keenan Allen, but it was all Patriots from then on.
Sony Michel scored another touchdown with this one being from fourteen yards out and then Philip Dorsett received a touchdown pass from Brady with roughly the same yardage. Michel and Rex Burkhead added one more touchdown rush each and then Stephen Gostkowski put the game out of reach with two field goals. The Chargers scored most of their points in garbage time as the Patriots won 41-28.
The Patriots' leaders of the box score were absolutely dominant as Brady was 34-44 for 343 yards and a touchdown, Michel rushed 24 times for 129 yards and three touchdowns, and Julian Edelman and James White combined for 24 receptions and 248 receiving yards. Edelman's game moved him into second on the all-time receptions in the post-season list, behind Jerry Rice. And White's receptions tied him with Darren Sproles for the most receptions by a running back in a single post-season game.
The Patriots were absolutely dominant en route to clinching their eighth straight AFC Championship berth, but they will have their work cut out for them when they have to travel to Kansas City to face the Kansas City Chiefs for a chance at a third straight Super Bowl appearance.