By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The 2020 New England Patriots are not going to go down without a fight this season. And for the first time since Week 4, the Patriots are back at .500 (this time at 6-6) thanks to Sunday’s 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium.
It was as complete a team effort as Bill Belichick could’ve asked for, too, and with the difference coming by way of the New England special teams department.
Up by a touchdown in the first quarter following a Cam Newton rushing touchdown, the Patriots put themselves up by 14 on a 70-yard punt return score for Gunner Olszewski.
The touchdown was the first of Olszewski’s career, and the second-year pro added another 50+ yard return by the day’s end, giving him the second most punt return yards in a single game in franchise history. (He also added his first career receiving touchdown by the day’s end on a 38-yard grab from Jarrett Stidham.)
Adding another Newton ground score with just 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Patriots pushed their lead to a staggering 28 points by halftime off a blocked field goal from Cody Davis and scooped-and-scored by Devin McCourty.
McCourty’s touchdown marked the first time that the Patriots had a punt return touchdown and blocked field goal touchdown since the 2001 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
for the 2nd time in franchise history, the Pats have returned a punt for a TD and returned a blocked field goal for a TD in the same game....also did it in the 2001 AFC Championship game vs. Pittsburgh— Patriots Radio Net (@sportshubpats) December 6, 2020
It never got any better for the Chargers, either, as they surrendered another 17 points in the second half for their worst shutout loss in team history, beating the previous ‘best’ of a 41-0 loss to the Falcons in 1973.
This was a straight-up dominant performance from the Patriot defense, really, with interceptions from Chase Winovich and J.C. Jackson, along with three sacks on the Chargers’ Justin Herbert.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver N’Keal Harry catch his first touchdown pass since Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs on a five-yard bullet from Newton. Damien Harris paced the Patriots on the ground, with 80 yards on 16 carries, while Newton finished with 69 passing yards on 12-for-19 passing, and two touchdowns and 48 yards on the ground.
With the win, the Patriots have victories in four of their last five contests, and will look to make it three straight with a Thursday Night Football head-to-head with the Los Angeles Rams later this week.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.