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Brady and company didn't just dominate on the offensive side of the ball, but had terrific performances all around, including an interception by massive lineman Vince Wilfork, who took the ball from the Patriots' 34 yard line to the opposite 29 yard line. All in all, it was a well-orchestrated symphony all around.
"We made some good plays out there in all three phases," Brady said. "That was really a great complementary game by our team. It's a very good San Diego team. That was a tough game we played against them last year. Last year in San Diego, we didn't do anything offensively. So, to come out and play this way offensively against a very good defensive team I think was very encouraging for all of us." (via WEEI)
Week two is over for most of the teams in the NFL, and it's an early season three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. The Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 35-21 on Sunday evening in their debut at Gillette Stadium, joining the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills as the third 2-0 team in the division.
Tom Brady earned a sparkling QB rating of 135.7 on the day, going 31/40 for 423 yards and three touchdowns. He turned to old friend Deion Branch to be his receiver-of-the-day, and Branch delivered on 8 catches for 129 yards. Once again though it was the tight ends that made the biggest impact for the Pats, as Rob Gronkowski had two touchdown catches, adding to an early Aaron Hernandez' one on the first drive of the game.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a quietly efficient game from the backfield, contributing 70 yards on 17 carries, including a 16 yard touchdown run to cement the win.
On the other side of the ball, Vincent Jackson did everything he could to combat the Patriots; even though at times it looked like he may have been alone in that quest. Jackson had 10 catches for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a spectacular catch in triple coverage for a TD in the fourth quarter to try to keep his team alive by closing New England's lead to one possession.
The normally explosive Philip Rivers also put up big numbers with 378 yards on 29 completions, but committed two costly interceptions and a fumble turnover. He often looked uncomfortable sitting in the pocket, overthrowing his targets multiple times. He also lost a precious scoring opportunity to a spectacular goal-line stand by the Patriots defense on a fourth and inches chance in the first half.
Mike Tolbert also committed a turnover, and hardly anything else, helping Chargers fans forget his spectacular week one performance. His fumble, recovered by Rob Ninkovich, not only cost his team a chance to tie the game but helped the Patriots seal the fate of the game when they drove the ball down for a Gronkowski TD and a two-point conversion run by Danny Woodhead.
Conversely, Vince Wilfork had a rare highlight-reel play with his first career interception toward the end of the first half, helping the Pats set up for a 41 yard Gostkowski field goal.
The Patriots now prepare to take on the Buffalo Bills next Sunday at 1pm.
Phillip Rivers committed three of his teams four turnovers and the Chargers failed to come away with points in the red zone three times this afternoon at Gillette Stadium as the Patriots rolled over San Diego 35-21.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots capitalized on those mistakes, scoring twice off turnovers and once after stopping the Chargers on the goal line. Brady, who threw for 423 yards, his second consecutive 400+ yard game to open the season, completed touchdown passes to his stud tight ends Rob Gronkowski (twice) and Aaron Hernandez.
In a game that saw 974 yards of offense, Deion Branch had his best game since returning to the team, making eight catches for 129 yards. For the Chargers, Vincent Jackson hauled in 10 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
The key moment in the game came early in the fourth quarter when, after failing to convert on a fourth and one from midfield, the Chargers took over possession trailing 20-14. With a chance to take the lead, they marched to the Patriots 34 yard line before running back Mike Tolbert fumbled the ball in the backfield. Rob Ninkovich fell on it for the Pats who promptly went 61 yards in four plays for the game clinching score on Brady’s second touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots move to 2-0 on the season and will be in Buffalo next week to take on the Bills. The Chargers drop to 1-1 and will host Kansas City in Week 3.
A full game recap will be out shortly.
After the Chargers were threatening to make this a game, Tom Brady and the Patriots went on an impressive game clinching drive that saw Brady go over 400 yards passing for the day, and Benjarvus Green-Ellis get his second TD run of the season.
The drive went 80 yards in 3:46.
The Pats have scored on six of their nine drives in the game.
Vincent Jackson tore through the Patriots secondary to score his 2nd touchdown of the game on a drive that saw the Chargers convert on 3 third downs and pull within a score at 28-21. QB Phillip Rivers is now up to 353 yards through the air with two touchdowns. Vincent Jackson is the leading receiver in the game with 10 catches for 172 yards.
There is 5:40 left to play in the 4th quarter.
After the Patriots were unsuccessful on fourth and one from mid-field, the Chargers gave the ball right back when Rob Nikovich recovered a Mike Tolbert fumble at the New England 35. Tom Brady wasted no time in marching the team down the field and heaving his third touchdown pass of the game, and the second to tight end Rob Gronkowski to give the Pats a 26-14 lead.
Danny Woodhead then converted on a two point conversion attempt to give the Pats a full two touchdown lead at 28-14.
After a questionable pass interference penalty on Sergio Brown, the Chargers were set up inside the five yard line. The Patriots were able to contain Rivers on the 1st and 2nd down, but on 3rd down, Rivers was able to stand up under pressure and find receiver Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone to make the score 20-14.
The Chargers went 64 yards in 10 plays over 5:31.
Three quarters in the books from Gillette Stadium and the Patriots are still leading by the count of 20-7. The defenses took over in the third quarter though after a wild first half, allowing zero points for the first time today.
The Chargers came closest to scoring, as for the fourth time they were able to drive the ball down into the red zone on their opening possession. But, for the third time today, they came away with nothing. This time, Sergio Brown stepped in front of a Phillip Rivers pass intended for Antonio Gates for his first interception of the season and the second of the game for Rivers.
Both teams are over 300 yards of total offense for the game. Tom Brady 279 yards passing on 23/29 passing along with two touchdown passes. Deion Branch continues to be the leading receiver with seven catches for 96 yards.
Phillip Rivers is 19/28 for 240 yards, but has two interceptions, tying his career high for a single game.
Tom Brady is 18/21 for 240 yards with two touchdown passes and Stephen Gostkowski has converted two field goals to help the Patriots to a 20-7 lead at the half at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The two touchdown catches belong to their two prized tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Deion Branch leads the team in receiving at the half with four catches for 67 yards.
The game started brilliantly for Brady who, on the teams opening possession, lead a 92 yard scoring drive that included long completions to Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and Chad Ochocinco. Once the drive reached the red zone following catch by Ochocinco, Brady found tight end Aaron Hernandez in the back of the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown pass. Hernandez was able to maintain control despite Chargers safety Bob Sanders battling him for the ball.
The Chargers responded with a lightning quick 80 yard drive of their own, capped off by a 10 yard scamper from running back Ryan Matthews. Quarterback Phillip Rivers accounted for 64 of the 80 yards on the drive through the air, 59 of them to receiver Michael Floyd on a pair of third down conversions.
The Patriots would answer the Chargers drive with another long drive of their own. This one stalled in the red zone though, and the Patriots were forced to settle for a 22 yard field goal from kicker Stephen Gostkowski to put his team back in front 10-7.
Looking to take the lead for the first time in the game, San Diego rolled right back down the field courtesy of a pair of 20+ yard completions by Rivers to running back Mike Tolbert and receiver Vincent Jackson. The Chargers were able to drive the ball down inside the Patriots 1 yard line where they were unable to punch it in. On 4th and goal, Jerod Mayo and Pat Chung combined to blow up an off tackle run by Tolbert and stop him for no gain.
The stop proved to be a turning point in the game as Brady led an efficient 99 yard drive down the field, the teams second 90+ yard drive of the game and third of the season, that finished with a 10-yard Brady to Gronkowski hook-up into double coverage to give the Pats a 17-7 lead.
As the Chargers were driving for a score before the half, Vince Wilfork batted a Rivers pass into the air and managed to control it for his first career interception which was returned 28 yards to set up a Stephen Gostkowski field goal right at the half.
For the second time in this game Tom Brady has led the Patriots on a drive that began inside their own 10-yard line, and for the second time this season, the team has scored on a 99-yard drive.
This drive culminated in a 10 yard pass to Rob Gronkowski, who battled through double coverage to make the catch and give the Pats a 17-7 lead. The drive also featured a 30 yard catch by Chad Ochocinco and the debut of running back Stevan Ridley.
Brady is now over 200 yards for the day and has thrown two touchdown passes.
After driving down inside the Chargers 10 yard line, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was unable to punch the ball in the endzone on two pass attempts and a Danny Woodhead run went for no gain.
Stephen Gostkowski came on and kicked a 22 yard field goal to give the Pats the lead back at 10-7.
After the Chargers opened the game with a punt, the offenses exploded with big plays. First, after being pinned back in their own end of the field, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led an impressive 92 yard drive which included three plays of at least 14 yards, culminating in a 14 yard strike to Aaron Hernandez in the back of the end zone. Hernandez did well to fight off Chargers safety Bob Sanders to maintain possession.
The Chargers answered back on their ensuing possession by driving 80 yards for the tying score. The drive was highlighted by two third down circus catches by wide receiver Malcolm Floyd. The first was caught in between three defenders, the second was an over the shoulder catch that was well defended by Devin McCourty.
The teams combined for just over 260 yards of total offense in the first quarter.
Tom Brady is currently 11-12 for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Phillip Rivers is 4-7 for 93 yards.
Ryan Matthews 10-yard TD run capped a Chargers drive that included two phenomenal catches by Malcolm Floyd and helped his team tie the game at 7. The drive was 80 yards and took just 3:21 off the clock.
After the defense forced a punt, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense marched 92 yards down the field to set up Tom Brady for a touchdown strike to Aaron Hernandez. The drive took just over five minutes.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have announced their list of inactive players for Sunday's home opener against the San Diego Chargers, with linebacker Gary Guyton highlighting a group of seven players who won't play.
In addition, quarterback Ryan Mallett, running back Shane Vereen, wide receiver Taylor Price, center/guard Ryan Wendell and center Dan Koppen and defensive end Mike Wright will also miss Sunday's game due to various injuries.
Most of these names aren't particularly surprising, except for Guyton, who caught Pats Pulpit's attention.
The only "surprise here is Gary Guyton. Guyton was listed as questionable, but most figured he would play. Linebacker Brandon Spikes, who missed last week, will suit up for the Patriots. Spikes will likely split time with Dane Fletcher at middle linebacker, with Jerod Mayo moving back to his spot as the weak-side linebacker.
For the Chargers, wide receiver Patrick Crayton, cornerback Shareece Wright, running back Jordan Todman, linebacker Darryl Gamble, linebacker Jonas Mouton, wideout/kick returner Vincent Brown and Luis Castillo are all inactive for the game.
Event: New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers - NFL Regular Season, Week 2.
Date/Time: Sunday, September 18, 2010 - 4:15 p.m. EDT.
Location: Gillette Stadium (Capacity: 68,756), Foxboro, MA.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's game between the Patriots and Chargers will be aired on CBS (Channel 4), with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling all of the action. The game can also be seen on Channel 717 on DIRECTV.
In addition, the game can be heard on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, the flagship station of the Patriots. The lengendary duo of Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti will serve as the broadcast team. The game can also be heard on SIRIUS Radio, Channel 86.
Last Week: Tom Brady set a franchise record for passing yards in a game with 517 and also threw four touchdowns in the Pats' 38-24 demolition of the Miami Dolphins last Monday. Brady's performance placed him fifth all-time in NFL history, and he became the 15th player to reach 3,000 completions in his career. In addition, Brady had a 99 1/2-yard pass to Wes Welker, tying the record for longest touchdown pass in league history.
As for Phillip Rivers and the Chargers, they posted a 24-17 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. Rivers completed 33-of-48 passes and threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off twice. Ryan Matthews led the Chargers' ground game, rushing for 45 yards on 12 carries. Antonio Gates had eight catches for 74 yards and Mike Tolbert grabbed nine catches for 58 yards and two scores.
Players To Watch: Obviously, the two players to watch in this game are the quarterbacks, Brady and Rivers. Both are top-tier quarterbacks who are capable of completely taking over a game, and expect the passing yards to rack up quickly at Gillette on Sunday. For Brady, his top target is Wes Welker, with tight end Aaron Hernandez being his second best option. For Rivers, tight end Antonio Gates should be his primary focus.
Storyline: It should be another fun match-up between the Patriots and Chargers, two teams with highly skilled quarterbacks and offenses capable of putting up points. The Pats got off on a good foot with their win over Miami, and now look to move to 2-0 in their first home game. The Chargers didn't score as many points as New England's 38 in Week 1, but still scored enough to put away Donovan NcMabb and the Vikings. Expect lots of scoring.
Game Preview: Check out Tanya Fox's preview of Sunday's game. Click here to read it.
Prediction: With two great quarterbacks, expect a 50-point minimum. Final Score: Patriots 38, Chargers 34.
It's Week 2 of the 2011 season and the New England Patriots are very early favorites after the 38 point demolition of the Miami Dolphin's defense last Monday. But this week they face the San Diego Chargers, a perennial AFC opponent that the Patriots certainly do not take lightly, as Coach Bill Belichick expressed in his press conference earlier this week.
"It feels like we're back in the division again," he said. "We've had a lot of games against the Chargers here in the past and as usual they've got a real good football team...Really, they're pretty strong across the board. They're a tough team to get ready for - Norv does a great job offensively with the usage of his talent and all the different formations and looks they give you, but they're very sound. You have to play well against these guys - they're a good football team."
Tom Brady, despite coming off the best passing game of his career and being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, is also aware that there is a lot of work to be done before they are ready to win against the Chargers at home in Gillette Stadium.
" [We] play against a team that's one of the most talented teams in the league every year...they have great players at every position," Brady said. "They have good corners, good safeties, linebackers, veteran defense. I think they run quite a few different looks for the offense. It's a short week for us too and guys in here are kind of walking around a little stiff, a little tight. We have to move on from last week's game and really get working hard on these guys."
The Patriots have faced the Chargers eight times since 2001, and have won five of those; including winning both postseason meetings, once in the divisional round and once for the AFC Championship. But last year's 23-20 win in San Diego was one they eked out with a late field goal, and the Charger's consistently have top ranks in both offense and defense.
So with all the history these two teams have, here are five things to watch for in the Patriot's second regular season game.
1. The Patriots secondary -- Once again these guys have a chance to come up big for the Pats' defense. Philip Rivers threw two interceptions last week against the Minnesota Vikings, due in part to their ability to stifle the San Diego running game. Rivers is one of the most dynamic passers in the league, but he also has a tendency to force balls when consistently pressured. Fullback Mike Tolbert caught nine balls last week, but is questionable to play in Foxboro. If he does not play, this still leaves a menacing receiving core of Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gate. Watch for a lot of nickel defensive packages, with the Pat Chung and the safeties covering Gates down the middle, McCourty on Vincent Jackson and Leigh Bodden (if healthy) covering Malcom Floyd.
2. Takeo Spikes -- Two-time Pro-Bowler Spikes is still a defensive force for the Chargers at the age of 34, and had 11 tackles in week one. Patriots' rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder fended off Cameron Wake pretty well last week, but Wake eventually managed to outwork the young guy and get solid pressure on Brady. Spikes is older and less explosive these days, but has experience and systemic knowledge that might be troublesome for the youth on the O-line in front of TB12. Brady's reliable center Dan Koppen is out with a broken ankle and will be replaced by Dan Connolly, and Sebastian Vollmer is still questionable with back issues. Even with reliable veterans Logan Mankins and Matt Light, these injuries leave the offensive line with weaknesses that Spikes and the Chargers defense will be looking to exploit.
3. Chad Ochocino -- I'm going to keep putting him on the watch list until something changes. And it's bound to change eventually. Despite verbal thrashings from legendary Patriots-turned-broadcasters Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison, Ochocinco has been calm and quiet, asserting that he won't make comments to the media until he has learned the playbook to a satisfactory level for himself and his teammates. The reservation and respect for his organization that he has shown offers some indication that this is a guy who has not given up on himself. Nobody wants to waste the opportunity to be on the receiving end of Tom Brady's passes, and don't think that Ochocinco is any exception to that.
4. Julian Edelman -- Maybe it's because we were all reminded of Edelman's return brilliance during his breakout in 2009 when it aired on Belichick: A Football Life this past Thursday. In any case, there were 8 returns (five punts, three kickoffs) for touchdowns last week, setting an NFL record for any week ever. It looks like the new kickoff rule has actually had the opposite of the anticipated effect, and Julian Edelman is more than capable of capitalizing on the trend. His role on the team has been mostly reduced to special teams on punt and kick returns, and you can bet that the spitfire Welker- clone will take this opportunity seriously. With the rule still so new, special teams cores around the league are still vulnerable and Edelman is a talented returner.
5. Tom Brady's home win-streak -- Brady has not lost a home game since Nov. 12, 2006, against the New York Jets. The Chargers are a solid team, but they are coming off a season in which they led the league in both offense and defense and still only went 8-8. Their win last week came over a quarterback that only threw for 39 yards and an interception. That's one-thirteenth of Brady's week one yardage total. The Vikings amassed just 187 total yards and had possession of the ball for a measly 22:43, and still the game was tied at 17-17 late in the 4th quarter; until Rivers hit Mike Tolbert for the back's third touchdown on the day. This is not the team that I envision breaking Brady's streak.
Tanya's prediction: New England Patriots 34, San Diego Chargers 21.
The Patriots take on Philip Rivers and his Chargers this week at Gillette Stadium in their home-opener.
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