With a couple of mins left within the first part, on their 5th try to decelerate Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Chargers in the end controlled a defensive prevent.
It used to be simplest transient.
Desmond King fumbled New England’s first punt of the sport, Albert McClellan recovered the ball simply inches ahead of it went out of bounds , and the Los Angeles protection used to be again on accountability. The Patriots wanted simply 4 extra performs to attain their 5th landing in one of the vital dominating begins in NFL postseason historical past.
“We laid an egg nowadays,” Chargers protection Adrian Phillips mentioned after the Patriots scored 4 directly touchdowns to blow open the sport and went directly to win 41-28. “We did not demonstrate up the best way we typically do.”
One week after shutting down Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens within the wild-card around, the Chargers (13-Five) fell in the back of 35-7 within the first part and blew a chance to advance to their first AFC championship recreation for the reason that 2007 season.
As a substitute, the Patriots (12-Five) reached the convention identify recreation for the 8th directly time, with an opportunity to achieve the Tremendous Bowl for the 3rd 12 months in a row and the 9th time underneath Brady and trainer Invoice Belichick.
“They have got been right here ahead of they usually confirmed up nowadays,” Chargers trainer Anthony Lynn mentioned. “We dug ourselves in a hollow within the first part, however the guys got here again out in the second one part and competed onerous. It used to be slightly too past due.”
The Patriots are the second one crew in league historical past to attain a landing on every of the primary 4 drives of a playoff recreation, becoming a member of the 2000 Indianapolis Colts (in a first-round recreation in opposition to Denver).
Quarterback Philip Rivers mentioned he used to be happy with the best way the Chargers offense helped out the protection and got here proper again to tie it 7-all after New England scored on its opening force.
“All 12 months, we have now in point of fact complemented every different smartly. And if one aspect wanted selecting up slightly bit, we have now executed that,” Rivers mentioned.
“We did it immediately after the primary force,” he mentioned. “They scored once more and we did not resolution, they usually scored once more and we did not resolution, they usually scored once more and we did not resolution. We had to and we knew offensively that our protection used to be going to settle in they usually wanted us and we did not cling up our finish.”
The one different time the Patriots failed to attain within the first part used to be on their ultimate ownership, after they took over with 51 seconds left and moved to the Los Angeles 36. And it used to be simplest as a result of Phillip Dorsett used to be stopped inbounds and the clock ran out that they were not ready to try a box objective.
New England’s Ryan Allen didn’t punt once more till there have been underneath 10 mins left within the recreation.
“We performed higher on protection in the second one part, however it used to be too past due,” protection Derwin James mentioned. “As soon as Brady has a lead on you prefer that, it is difficult.”
The Chargers misplaced at the street for simply the second one time all season, and this one wasn’t even shut. Sooner than heading into the locker rooms on the part trailing 35-7, they:
—Gave up 347 yards of offense, whilst gaining simply 128.
—Had six first downs to 24 for New England.
—Allowed the Patriots to transform all 5 instances they had been within the pink zone and on 5 of six 3rd downs.
“We were given our butt’s kicked nowadays,” Lynn mentioned. “It isn’t a at ease second for us, needless to say, however I feel in those instances we will be informed so much about ourselves.”
Rivers finished 25 of 51 passes for 331 yards within the recreation — a lot of it after it used to be out of achieve. Tyrell Williams stuck 5 passes for 94 yards, Melvin Gordon had a speeding landing and Antonio Gates had a TD reception in what might be the ultimate recreation of his profession.
“Lovely cool that if it had been to be his ultimate one, that his ultimate catch used to be a landing,” Rivers mentioned. “If it had been to be, you would glance again in the future and say it ended simply the way it began there a very long time in the past.”
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