Julian Edelman had nine catches for 151 yards.
The Chargers added three touchdowns in the second half , but it was much too late.
Los Angeles lost for just the second time on the road (8-2) and first time outside Los Angeles this season. In its past four trips to the playoffs, Los Angeles has lost in the divisional round.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first half,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “One game doesn’t define where we are as a football team.”
Rivers seemed poised to keep Los Angeles in the game, connecting with Keenan Allen for a 43-yard score on Los Angeles’ first offensive possession. It was the longest touchdown of Allen’s career, including the postseason.
It turned out to be just a blip. The Chargers punted the four other times they had the ball in the first half.
The Patriots were efficient throughout the opening 30 minutes, going 5 for 5 in the red zone, 5 of 6 on third down and committing only one penalty.
New England didn’t go three-and-out for the first time until its fifth offensive touch of the day when it punted with 3:32 left in the second quarter.
But Ryan Allen’s 48-yard punt was fumbled by Desmond King, sending the ball rolling toward the sideline. The referees ruled the ball went out of bounds before New England’s Albert McClellan appeared to recover it. But the play was reversed after a challenge by Bill Belichick.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, celebrates a touchdown run by running back Sony Michel (26) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.