Charger de­fence a no-show in ugly loss to Pats

Medicine Hat News - - SPORTS - JIMMY GOLEN

FOXBOR­OUGH, Mass. With a few min­utes left in the first half, on their fifth at­tempt to slow down Tom Brady and the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots, the Charg­ers fi­nally man­aged a de­fen­sive stop. It was only tem­po­rary. Des­mond King fum­bled New Eng­land’s first punt of the game, Al­bert McClellan re­cov­ered the ball just inches be­fore it went out of bounds , and the Los An­ge­les de­fence was back on duty. The Pa­tri­ots needed just four more plays to score their fifth touch­down in one of the most dom­i­nat­ing starts in NFL post-sea­son his­tory.

“We laid an egg to­day,” Charg­ers safety Adrian Phillips said af­ter the Pa­tri­ots scored­fourstraight­touch­downs to blow open the game and went on to win 41-28. “We didn’t show up the way we usu­ally do.”

One week af­ter shut­ting down Lamar Jack­son and the Bal­ti­more Ravens in the wild­card round, the Charg­ers (135) fell be­hind 35-7 in the first half and blew an op­por­tu­nity to ad­vance to their first AFC cham­pi­onship game since the 2007 sea­son.

In­stead, the Pa­tri­ots (12-5) reached the con­fer­ence ti­tle game for the eighth straight time, with a chance to reach the Su­per Bowl for the third year in a row and the ninth time un­der Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

“They’ve been here be­fore and they showed up to­day,” Charg­ers coach An­thony Lynn said. “We dug our­selves in a hole in the first half, but the guys came back out in the sec­ond half and com­peted hard. It was a lit­tle too late.”

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