Pats demolish Chargers; back to .500 for first time since Week 4
For the first time in a long time, the Patriots dominated on three phases of the games as they shut out the Chargers 45-0 en route to 6-6 record, and getting back to .500 since week four when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Patriots scored early and often and while Los Angeles simply had zero answers for the Patriots all day long as the Patriots finally played a complete team effort in which all three phases of the gam made an impact. The offense moved the ball consistently, the defense got sacks, and created turnovers, while the special teams unit scored two first half touchdowns. One on a punt return for Gunner Olszewski and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Devin McCourty to close out the first half.
Right when we thought the Chargers would actually do something productive, they quickly shot themselves in the foot from penalties, bad play calls, bad blocking and poor decision making from rookie Quarterback Justin Herbert. A combination of all of that lead to the Patriots blowing them out. Even second year quarterback Jarrett Stidham was able to get in on the fun and threw a passing touchdown himself.
Cam Newton had an extremely better day today than he did last week versus Arizona where he passes for a measly 84b yards with two picks. Cam ran the ball more today than he has in the past three weeks. Newton again passed for less than 90 yards, he only threw for 69 yards, did throw a touchdown pass to N'Keal Harry. Newton ran the ball 14 times, rushing for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Although his numbers aren't going to blow anyone away, Newton did not turn the ball over this week, something that he done an extremely good job of in recent weeks, despite the hiccup last week.
All around this was a great win for the Patriots, a much needed win as it keeps the Patriots playoff hopes very much alive and keeps them within two games of the Dolphins, Colts, Titans, and within a game of the Las Vegas Raiders. On the flip, side the Patriots need those teams to lose in order to gain ground and steal a playoff spot. The Patriots own tiebreakers over Baltimore, Las Vegas, Miami, and Indianapolis in some capacity, but it will only matter if the Patriots keep on winning and they get some help along the way.
The Patriots will be staying Los Angeles as they have a quick turnaround and play the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night, on the exact same field that they just blew the Chargers out on. However, the Rams will not be a cake walk as the Rams are currently atop of the NFC West division following their win over the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle's loss to the New York Giants. This will also be New England's final game against the their NFC schedule and their final non-division game.
The Patriots final three games are all against the AFC East, which they are 2-1 against this season. Given how the Patriots have played through about 75 percent of their schedule, despite the results of some of those games, it is extremely;y impressive that the Patriots have put themselves in position to still compete for a playoff spot. Although they are still in uncharted territory one multiple occasions, the Patriots can still give teams a run for their money if the Patriots win their final four games.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots haven't suffered a losing season since his first season which was back in 2000, where they went 5-11. Well, the worst the Patriots can do is 6-10, which would be Belichick's second worse record, assuming the Patriots lose each of their next four games, which is doubtful.
The Patriots have finished with a winning record for 19 consecutive years, with 18 of the 19 being 10 plus win seasons, and the Patriots having accomplished that feat each of the last 17 years. A loss to the Rams on Thursday wouldn't't be catastrophic but it would put the Patriots chances on thin ice entering Week 15.
If the Patriots can play like the way they did today against the Rams, Dolphins, Bills and Jets (especially the winless Jets) and get a little bit of help, the Patriots will find themselves, like they always have 18 of the 20 years, playing meaningful games in January and a chance at yet another title.
Enjoy this win for the Patriot fans for at least the next 72 hours, because come Thursday Night, it will be the biggest game the Patriots are to play all season long as it could very determine the Patriots playoff hopes.