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Chargers-Patriots live updates: New England leads 41-14 in fourth quarter

The Patriots (specifically Tom Brady, Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski) have carried out a large number of this Sunday. (Adam Glanzman / Getty Pictures)

Plus three: The Patriots added a 30-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski after a drive that included a stellar catch from Julian Edelman, who is over 150 yards receiving for the day. (41-14, New England, 12:23 fourth quarter)

Melvin Gordon scores: The Chargers managed a drive as the third quarter was winding down and Rivers’s frustration was on full display, especially after a Stephon Gilmore holding call that caused him to appear to yell “they’re doing it on every play!” Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard run. It was the Chargers’ first touchdown since their opening drive. (38-14, New England, 1:16 third quarter)

A lead grows: Would it surprise you to know that, after the Chargers’ first drive of the second half fizzled, the Patriots picked up where they left off in the first half?

The offense controlled the ball for nearly half of the third quarter and their drive ended with a 28-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. (38-7, New England, 6:34 third quarter)

New England leads a 35-7 lead into halftime: After everything went Philip Rivers’s way against the Ravens, the Chargers quarterback was frustrated and frazzled against New England. While the Patriots were scoring five touchdowns, Los Angeles could come up with only five first downs. What have been the biggest factors?

A Gronk reminder: Rob Gronkowski may or may not retire after this season, but his presence in the first half came as a formidable blocker rather than a pass catcher. He’s been a big help in paving the way for rookie running back Sony Michel, who has rushed 16 times for 105 yards and three touchdowns.

The bye week matters: Clearly, there’s something to the Patriots’ mystique with a week off. They’ve been rolling in the first half and have reminded everyone that they’re postseason zombies. You really have to drive a stake through their hearts to stop them. Kansas City may well do that next week, if New England finishes this one off with a win.

Brady’s near-perfect start: Tom Brady completed 23 of 29 passes for 233 yards in the first half. This after he spent last week working on his mechanics with his quarterback maestro, Tom House.

Michel scores third TD of first half: The Patriots capitalized on a fumble recovery by Albert McClellan and marched right down the field for the third touchdown run of the first half by Sony Michel, who was helped into the end zone by the blocking of Rob Gronkowski. (35-7, New England, 1:43 second quarter)

Rolling: The Patriots’ offense remains finely tuned, with another touchdown drive. The latest, which was capped with a 6-yard touchdown run by Rex Burkhead, went six plays and 82 yards, taking up over three minutes. With Rob Gronkowski doing some fine blocking, Burkhead scooted into the end zone with 6:04 left in the second quarter. The Patriots have rolled up 286 yards of offense, with over six minutes left in the half. (28-7, New England, 6:04 second quarter)

There they go again: Tom Brady hit Phillip Dorsett with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 12:17 left in the second quarter, giving the Patriots a 21-7 lead and sending the Chargers’ defensive coaches back to the drawing board. That’s the first time in the Patriots’ extensive playoff history that they’ve scored on their first three possessions of a game.

For Brady, the score marks the 13th consecutive postseason game with a touchdown pass, tying Dan Marino and Peyton Manning for the third-longest streak all time. (21-7, New England, 12:17 second quarter)

More Michel: The Patriots’ second drive ended like their first, with a Sony Michel touchdown.

Michael scampered 14 yards and sneaked over the pylon at the corner of the end zone, capping a seven-play, 67-yard drive. Michel has had nine carries for 43 TDs. So far, the Patriots have run up 142 yards offense on 10 plays and the first quarter isn’t over. (14-7, New England, 1:34 first quarter)

New England scores first, but L.A. responds: The Patriots draw first blood, with a drive that gobbled nearly half of the first quarter and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Sony Michel with 7:49 left.

New England was helped when a third-down pass at the nine, intended for Rob Gronkowki in the end zone, fell incomplete and Casey Hayward was called for pass interference. On first and goal from the 1, Michel scored, completing the 14-play, 83-yard drive on which Tom Brady completed 7 of 8 passes for 60 yards.

Bill Belichick had a little surprise for the Chargers, electing to break habit and receive the opening kickoff rather than deferring. Perhaps that’s related to Los Angeles’ new addition, Nick Rose, handling kickoffs to keep the ball away from Cordarrelle Patterson. (7-0, New England, 6:52 first quarter)

Philip Rivers wasted no time with a reply, hitting Keenan Allen on a 43-yard TD pass. That capped a six-play, 72-yard drive that took 2:53. It’s so on now. (7-7, 4:56 first quarter)

Adrian Phillips hurt: The Chargers’ Adrian Phillips, who had two takeaways against the Ravens, left the field, holding his left arm/shoulder, but returned with a brace on his arm.

Pregame analysis: Philip Rivers and Tom Brady are facing a far grander opponent than each other, no matter what the NFL schedule tells you. Together, they have made 78 revolutions around the sun, and this matchup is special for that reason alone. Their playoff opportunities won’t last forever.

Brady, making his 38th appearance in a playoff game, arrived at Gillette Stadium five hours before kickoff, with a fresh report swirling about a knee injury he’s been dealing with for a while now. Brady, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, sprained his medial collateral ligament on a gimmick play in November, however now could be “as wholesome as he’s been” because the season started. “The harm befell as Brady slipped, misstepped, then fell enjoying receiver on a double move on Nov. 11 as opposed to the Titans,” Rapoport stated. “He was once at the harm record till Week 15. At quite a lot of occasions, he may well be noticed fiddling together with his knee brace or slicing his pregame warm-u.s.quick.”

Brady has a 7-Zero report towards Rivers, together with two playoff victories. Within the seven video games, Brady has handed for two,000 yards and 14 touchdowns with 8 interceptions; Rivers has handed for 1,735 yards and 7 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Within the playoff video games, Brady handed for 480 yards, with 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and Rivers for 441 yards, and not using a touchdowns and 3 interceptions. (Notice that during one playoff sport, for the AFC championship, Rivers was once coping with a torn anterior cruciate ligament).

“I imply the fellow performed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. We performed in 10-degree climate and he was once nonetheless firing dimes available in the market,” Brady stated Monday on WEEI radio. “So, the fellow’s were given the entire self belief on the earth.”

So, after all, does Brady, however he and the Patriots appear other, extra prone this yr. There were questions on whether or not Father Time is after all beating Brady and whether or not the Patriots’ dynasty could be coming to an finish. Rivers was once requested about mighty New England after the Chargers’ victory over the Ravens in final weekend’s wild-card around.

“Gosh, we all know the run they’ve had,” he chirped in an aw shucks more or less approach. ” . . . We’re gonna fly again house, then fly again right here for any other 10 a.m. [West Coast time] sport. We truly don’t care. What’s that we are saying?” he added, directing the query to Melvin Ingram? “Any squad, anyplace,” Ingram answered.

There’s some well-earned cockiness there, and the Chargers are this week’s holder of the coveted “crew nobody desires to play” label. The Chargers have no longer misplaced out of doors the state of California, going Eight-1 clear of house (with the “street” loss to the Rams in L.A.) and successful in puts like Pittsburgh and Kansas Town.

Precisely. (AP Picture/Elise Amendola)

However Gillette Stadium has been kryptonite for warring parties, with the Patriots going Eight-Zero there this season and successful 15 in a row, together with postseason video games, relationship again to final season. In some way, in spite of experiences in their impulsively advancing decrepitude and inner drama, they earned their 9th consecutive first-round playoff bye, claiming the AFC’s No. 2 seed. They’ll host their 9th immediately divisional playoff sport and feature received 15 divisional playoff video games total, one not up to Pittsburgh’s NFL report.

What’s subsequent for Gronk: He mulled retirement final yr and the way forward for Rob Gronkowski once more is also unsure, however he reportedly is able to cross and wholesome for this sport.

Hunter Henry replace: The Chargers be expecting to have restricted use of tight finish Hunter Henry, who underwent knee surgical operation in Might, for the primary time this season. Absolute best timing.

Thoughts video games: Invoice Belichick channels Purple Auerbach with the strategic placement of a thermometer that the Chargers aren’t more likely to leave out.

What’s Nick Saban were given to do with it: As a result of we adore intangibles, we’ll indicate that Alabama’s trainer and the Patriots’ Invoice Belichick have alternated successful titles yearly since 2014. Saban received final yr; the Patriots didn’t. Saban didn’t this win this yr. We’ll see what occurs subsequent.

What’s subsequent: The winner will play the Chiefs in Kansas Town within the AFC convention championship sport on Sunday, Jan. 20. The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 at house in October and the Chargers break up with the Chiefs, shedding their season opener to Kansas Town at house however scoring an exhilarating 29-28 win in Kansas Town in December.

Matchup to look at: Patriots defensive lineman Trey Vegetation vs. Chargers guard Dan Feeney

The important thing to this matchup for the Chargers is to easily stay their heads above water. Vegetation has the flexibility to play any method up and down the road of scrimmage, which means they might simply stick him over Feeney’s out of doors shoulder all sport lengthy if they prefer. And that spells bother for Los Angeles. Feeney’s 46 pressures allowed this season have been probably the most of any guard within the NFL. It’s no longer simply that he permits them, however the pace with which the force got here that may be a nightmare for quarterback Philip Rivers. Feeney allowed 8 pressures the place he misplaced inside of 2.Zero seconds of the snap, which could also be probably the most of any guard within the NFL.

Vegetation, however, notched 65 pressures this season, the 13th-most of any participant within the league. That quantity was once additionally 33 greater than any inside defender at the Patriots. Vegetation is actually the one participant the Chargers offensive line has to fret about at the inside. Fending off letting Vegetation cross one-on-one with Feeney will have to be a best precedence of their protections. — Mike Renner, Pro Football Focus

When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.

How to watch on TV: CBS.

How to stream online: CBS All Access.

Odds: Patriots -4.

Read more on the NFL playoffs:

The NFL linebacker has been devalued. Leighton Vander Esch is here to change that.

What’s the secret to Nick Foles’s magic? The play of the Eagles defense.

Westlake High produced two Super Bowl MVPs. On Sunday, they’ll meet in the NFL playoffs.

‘We got it done!’: The inside story of how Patrick Mahomes landed with the Chiefs

‘No matter where I am, I still think about her’: A grieving father plans to play against the Patriots

Philip Rivers is running out of time, making this week’s opportunity that much bigger

John Clayton: The 4 biggest questions heading into the NFL playoffs’ divisional round

NFL playoffs ATS picks: Home favorites should struggle to cover in divisional matchups

These one-on-one matchups could decide the NFL’s divisional-round games

The Saints and Rams were the big winners on wild-card weekend

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