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.