SAN DIEGO — The
But Sunday night's game felt like awfully familiar turf.
There were just as many fans cheering for the Patriots as for the Chargers, and that tilted in New England's favor toward the end of the game as thousands of discouraged spectators made an early exit.
Both quarterbacks have phenomenal December records. Brady is 46-7, and Rivers is 30-7.
This time, New England's defense was simply smothering and never allowed the home team to build offensive rhythm.
With three weeks to go, the Patriots share the
San Diego's brutal stretch run continues with Denver, at San Francisco, and at Kansas City. The Chargers, currently in line for the sixth and final spot, a wild card, were leap-frogged Sunday by Pittsburgh, at No. 5.
"There's not time to feel sorry for ourselves and to mope around much," Rivers said. "We knew about this stretch, starting last week, and they're all tough. But that's the
Next up for the Chargers: the
"We know the challenges they present, and how hard it is to beat them," Rivers said. "But we do know how to beat them. It's going to take our best."
On Sunday, San Diego's offense scored seven points. That came on a methodical drive in the second quarter that ended with a 15-yard pass to
Rivers, who was sacked four times, threw for 163 yards — 105 fewer than his average.
"Our defense was unbelievable," Brady said. "They kept us in it all night. That was a defensive win right there."
It's not as if the Patriots were a well-oiled machine offensively. But they were able to chip away at San Diego's lead in the first half, reclaimed the edge with a field goal in the fourth quarter, then built a buffer when
The Patriots were coming off a 26-21 loss to the
Sunday's game had some brutal hits, including ones that knocked San Diego punter
Scifres had to be carted off in the second quarter after his punt was blocked by
Green suffered a concussion on a hit by cornerback
The Chargers had their moments defensively, including limiting the Patriots to 12 yards in the second quarter, and linebacker