Charger defence a no-show in ugly loss to Pats
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.”