New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Andrew’s Week 14 NFL Breakdown and Analysis
December 7, 2014
Rounding out the weekend schedule in NFL Week 14 on “Sunday Night Football,” we had a compelling matchup between the Patriots and the Chargers. New England was trying to rebound from a loss to the Packers at Lambeau, while San Diego got a key AFC win over the Ravens in Week 13. This game was very important for potential playoff seeding, so both teams wanted a win badly.
Let’s check out some of the key players and statistics so we can see why things played out the way they did. Afterward we’ll look forward to Week 15 to see what’s in store for both teams.
What Happened: The Patriots spent last week in San Diego so they could focus on football and cut travel, and the strategy seemed to work. It took the team a while to get going, however, as early on it was all Chargers.
Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski banged through a 22-yard field goal for the only scoring of the first quarter. San Diego got on the board with two quick scores, one a 15-yard Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd hookup for a TD, and one a Darrell Stuckey 53-yard fumble return for a score. Gostkowski would add another field goal from 22, and TE Rob Gronkowski would haul in a 14-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to put the score 14-13 Chargers heading into the break.
There was no scoring in the third, but in the final quarter New England was able to take the lead on a 38-yard Gostkowski boot, then solidify the win with a 69-yard Julian Edelman toss from Brady to make it 23-14. The Chargers offense couldn’t respond, and that’s the way the score would stand.
New England clinched their 12th straight season with at least 10 wins, which is the longest such streak in league history.
USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: Brady was pretty darn good here, tossing for 317 yards and a pair of scores. His line held up well, as he was only sacked once. The big benefactors of his pass game were Julian Edelman (eight receptions; 141 yards; TD) and big TE Rob Gronkowski (eight receptions; 87 yards; TD).
The defense put up a great effort here as well, with four sacks, eight tackles for loss and seven quarterback hits.
On the other side, there’s not much to get excited about statistically. Floyd had three grabs for 54 yards and the score; Manti Te’o logged his first career interception.
The Goats: What’s the formula for beating Brady or any other elite NFL QB? Keep him off the field. The Chargers didn’t do that, losing the time of possession battle 25:27 to 34:33. Much of that was due to a 53-yard team rushing effort, but the 163 yards passing doesn’t help either. The Chargers got into the red zone just once and were 4-13 on third downs.
Injuries: We had a couple of notable injuries to Chargers players in this one. Punter Mike Scifres injured his left shoulder on a play in the first half and had to be carted off the field. Later on after halftime, tight end Ladarius Green was hit in the head by Brandon Browner and was wobbly walking to the sidelines. Browner was called for a personal foul on the play.
Outlook: Both teams will be back in action on Sunday, December 14. The Patriots will host the incoming Dolphins (1:00 PM ET on CBS) while the Chargers will host the Broncos (4:05 PM ET on CBS).
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