Did you notice?
The Patriots attained first downs on all four thirddown opportunities on their opening scoring drive. Brady kept throwing underneath coverage and completed seven of eight passes on the 12-play drive. He was five for five for 45 yards when targeting running back James White.
The Patriots were playing zone on Keenan Allen’s 43-yard touchdown reception, corner Stephon Gilmore biting on an inside move and safety Devin McCourty not even in the neighborhood for the flag pattern.
Sony Michel ran nine times for 43 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns on the Patriots’ first two drives.
Desmond King and Casey Hayward got mixed up on coverage when Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett ran an X pattern on the latter’s 15-yard touchdown reception. King was left trailing the wide-open receiver.
On third downs, the Patriots defense kept employing only one lineman, Trey Flowers in the middle, with his hand on the ground.
The Chargers stuck with their zone defense in the first half, leaving underneath patterns and running lanes open for Brady to pick and choose. Behind 28-7, the Chargers finally played man to man and forced the Patriots’ first punt, which the Chargers fumbled with 3 minutes 23 seconds left in the half.
Patriots had a 100-yard rusher (Michel, 105) and 100-yard receiver (Edelman, 107) in the first half.
Brady hit the turf for the first time midway through the third quarter when end Melvin Ingram hit the quarterback, forcing a rare errant throw.
The Chargers rushed only four times in the second half, and six in the first.
Even though the extreme contact appeared to be roughing the Chargers punter, Donnie Jones, in the fourth quarter, the opposition must hit the player’s plant leg in order to be penalized for more than running into the kicker.
Ingram lined up as a fullback on the play ending with a touchdown pass to Virgil Green.