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.