After an impressive come-from-behind win at home against the Minnesota Vikings, the San Diego Chargers traveled to Foxborough in hopes of continuing what would hopefully be a fast start after a string of consecutive slow starts (including one that cost the Chargers a trip to the postseason in 2010).
Once again, the Chargers were heavy underdogs going into Sunday's game.
Tom (I married a supermodel and sport a mini-mullet) Brady had torched the Miami Dolphins for 514 yards and four touchdowns through the air on Monday night, and the Chargers were hoping that the short week would slow down the Patriots. However, that wasn't the case.
The Chargers would start the game with the ball and at first started off very well.
Chargers running back Ryan Mathews had two impressive rushing gains to open the game, but the Bolts would then go three and out.
Enter Tom Brady.
Brady would lead the Patriots down the field in a 12-play, 92-yard scoring drive.
After that first touchdown, the Patriots wouldn't let up, scoring 20 points in the first 30 minutes of football.
It wasn't difficult for the Patriots to run up the score that fast; it was aided by plenty of miscues on the part of the Chargers.
The Chargers had three drives into scoring territory that yielded zero points.
That's right! Zero points!
How could that possibly be?
Well, the Patriots were able to capitalize on two Philip Rivers' interceptions (one by 300-plus-pound defensive tackle Vince Wilfork) and a goal-line stance on 4th-and-goal from the half-yard line by the Patriots' defense that stymied the Chargers' offense.
The Chargers' offense pushed the ball into Patriots territory on each of its drives with the ball, yet once again were able to put points on the board.
The Chargers had nine possessions the entire game, and without those three miscues the score could very well have been 42-35.
Something incredibly unsettling was the way the Chargers' defense looked at times, playing a very open zone defense (that Tom Brady seemed to pick apart) rather than playing the Patriots' receivers with man-to-man coverage.
What upset me the most is how the Chargers' defense could let the Patriots move into field-goal territory with only nine seconds left on the clock before the half.
On a brighter note, the Chargers looked really good.
Fans finally saw the emergence of Chargers running back Ryan Mathews.
Mathews gained 64 yards on 12 attempts, including one touchdown. He also had seven catches for 64 yards.
Mike Tolbert's pass-catching abilities once again played a key role in the Chargers' "small ball" offense.
I don't know what the problem is with the Chargers' offense right now, but for some odd reason they aren't taking big shots downfield this season.
Sunday's game against the Patriots was a repeat of the Chargers' home opener a week earlier. Small dump passes to Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.
After being a key piece of the Chargers' win over the Minnesota Vikings, Antonio Gates was completely shutdown against the Patriots.
Multiple times Gates was drawing double coverage by the Patriots' defense right off the line of scrimmage.
Vincent Jackson was once again a big, bright shining star. Jackson finished the game with 10 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
As we look at the remainder of the Chargers' schedule, San Diego could possibly be 4-1 by the time their Week 6 bye finally rolls around.
Should the Chargers be able to work out the kinks and miscues they have once again suffered at the start of the season, they might be able to start strong and finish strong, but as always, only time can tell.
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