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October 30, 2017
The New England Patriots hosted the Los Angeles Chargers in a week eight matchup at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Massachusetts.
The Patriots came out on top with a final score of 21-13 over the Chargers. Sunday’s game was the fourth game this season for New England that came down to the final play. The Patriots, however, have fared pretty well in these types of games going 3-1 in these nail-biters.
The game began with the Chargers receiving the opening kickoff from Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski and returning it 19-yards to the 20-yard line. The Chargers, hungry for some early points, failed to do so as kicker Nick Novak missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. New England could not make Los Angeles pay, going three-and-out and punting it right back to the Chargers. The Chargers did not leave it up to their kicker on this drive as running back Melvin Gordon took the second play of the drive 87-yards for a touchdown run. Novak kicked the extra point to make it 7-0, Los Angeles with 6:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
New England’s following drive carried into the start of the second quarter, as the Patriots constructed a methodical 14-play drive ending in a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gostkowski knocked through the extra point, tying the game up at 7 with 14:56 remaining in the half.
Later in the quarter, Patriots punter Ryan Allen punted the ball to the Chargers 12-yard line where Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin muffed the punt, picked it up and ran into his own end zone, ending the play being tackled for a safety. This gave the Patriots the lead at 9-7 with 9:20 left in the half.
The Patriots capped off their drive after the free-kick with a 25-yard field goal by Gostkowski, making it 12-7 New England. After another Los Angeles punt, New England took their final drive of the half down the field ending in another field goal for Gostkowski; this time 36-yards, making it 15-7 Patriots heading into halftime.
The Patriots received the second-half kickoff and running back Dion Lewis returned the kick 71-yards to the Chargers 25-yard line setting up Brady and the Patriots in prime scoring range. New England failed to even get a yard and Gostkowski missed the 43-yard field goal attempt. The Patriots’ defense held strong again forcing a punt. The offenses drive stalled out again at the 25-yard line, but this time Gostkowski nailed the 43-yard field goal right down the middle extending the Patriots’ lead to two-possessions at 18-7.
After forcing another punt, the Patriots’ next drive carried into the fourth quarter. Once again, Gostkowski attempted a 43-yard field goal and missed it. The Chargers wasted little time taking just three plays to score a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, the Patriots had an 18-13 lead with 8:30 remaining in the game.
After each team punted on their next drives, the Patriots found themselves with the ball late in the 4th quarter. A touchdown would have for sure put the game out of reach but the offense settled for a field goal attempt.
Gostkowski made a 26-yard field goal, giving the Patriots a 21-13 lead with just 1:08 left in the game. On the final drive of the game, Rivers was able to get his team to New England’s 23-yard line with just one second left on the clock. Down by a touchdown and a two-point conversion, Rivers took a shot at the end zone on the final play but was intercepted by cornerback Jonathan Jones capping off the Patriots 21-13 win over the Chargers.
The Patriots offense struggled to finish drives today settling for six field goal attempts and only scoring one touchdown.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked about the offense’s struggles and said, “It’s just the execution is coming up a little short in critical times. I’m glad we won. That’s the most important thing.”
The Patriots have played in some high-scoring games this year, this lower scoring game was a bit of a change of pace for New England.
Bill Belichick was asked if the team prefers the lower scoring games to the higher scoring games, and in the most Bill Belichick way, he said, “We prefer to win.”
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught the lone touchdown of the game for the Patriots.
Gronkowski was asked how the team feels emotionally after toughing out a win and said, “It’s tough to win in the NFL. Every game is tough. Every opponent is tough. Whenever we get a win I’ll take it no matter what.”
The Patriots hit the halfway point of the season and head into their bye week at 6-2. The Chargers head into their bye week at 3-5. Both teams are back in action on Sun. Nov. 12 with the Chargers heading to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars and the Patriots head to Denver to take on the Broncos.