New England Patriots

Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots strong safety Adrian Phillips (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown on an interception return during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

In a real measuring stick kind of game on Sunday, the Patriots came out on top with a 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in LA. The win is New England’s third in the last four games, giving the team a .500 record at 4-4.

The Patriots trailed in the fourth quarter, but worn down a Chargers’ defense that was out-snapped 75-58. It was a true example of complementary football, as the defense held Los Angeles to 4-of-12 on third down.

It took just eight players for the Chargers to get on the board. Their opening drive featured a 41-yard deep shot to Keenan Allen, and was finished by Austin Ekeler pushing the pile almost five yards for a touchdown.

Mac Jones and the Patriots responded with a similar drive, highlighted by Jones connected with Nelson Agholor down the field to pick up 44 yards. Damien Harris punched the ball in from a yard out, capping the 10-play, 75-yard drive and tying the game at 7-7. Both sides then traded punts to end the first quarter.

The Chargers opened the second quarter with a 75-yard run from Justin Jackson, setting up another goalline touchdown. It was the longest run against the Patriots since 2017, and gave LA a 14-7 lead.

Almost right away, it seemed like the Patriots were going to respond. Jones connected with Hunter Henry for 33 yards, getting them into the red zone. A third down fade attempt to Henry appeared to draw a holding penalty, but the flag was picked up. After a questionable non-call when a Chargers player hit Jones after the whistle, another corner fade – this time to Jakobi Meyers – fell incomplete on fourth down.

Backed up to the goal line, the Chargers’ offense ran just three plays before having to punt. Gunner Olszewski’s return set the Patriots up at LA’s 40, but after driving down inside the 10 New England had to settle for a field goal, narrowing the score to 14-10.

Although the Patriots went three-and-out on the two minute drill, Adrian Phillips picked off Justin Herbert to give them another chance with just under a minute left. A first down to Kendrick Bourne set up Nick Folk for a 48-yard field goal, which had the Patriots heading into halftime down just one, 14-13.

Coming out of the half, the Patriots were moving the ball well – mostly on the ground. However, a holding penalty by Justin Herron – in after an Isaiah Wynn injury – wiped out a Harris touchdown run. Two plays later, Bourne fumbled on third & 15, erasing what would have been a chance at a manageable field goal attempt.

Another defensive stop and another big punt return from Gunner Olszewski got the Patriots strong field position, although another holding penalty left them with just a 48-yard field goal. The Chargers responded with a 48-yard field goal of their own after they broke their third long run of the game. Between those two kicks, LA led 17-16 heading into the fourth quarter.-+

Punting to start the fourth quarter, the Patriots pinned the Chargers inside the five yard line. A hold backed up on the goal like was challenged as a potential safety, but the play on the field stood. The Chargers wouldn’t keep the ball for long though, as Phillips grabbed his second interception of the day a few plays later, returning it 26 yards for a score. Jones hit Meyers for a two-point conversion, and the Patriots led 24-17.

Right back on the field, the defense came up with another stop to force the Chargers’ fifth punt of the day. The offense responded with a 6-play, 56-yard drive that took 5:59 off the clock. That drive ended with another Folk field goal, putting the Patriots up 27-17 with the Chargers having used all their timeouts.

Running their two minute drill, the Chargers would find the end zone with 40 seconds to go in the game. That would be it for Herbert & Co. though, as the Patriots recovered the ensuing onside kick to put the game away.

Mac Jones finished the game 18-of-35 throwing the ball for 218 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers tied for the team lead with four catches each – Bourne for 38 yards and Meyers for 37. Nelson Agholor’s big catch saw him lead the team in receiving yards with 60 on three catches.

Damien Harris led the way for the Patriots on the ground, picking up 80 yards on 23 carries, with a score. Rhamondre Stevenson added 25 yards on eight carries, and Brandon Bolden 26 yards on four carries.

Defensively, Kyle Dugger had a team-high six tackles. Matt Judon picked up 1.5 sacks, snapping a two-week stretch without a sack and bringing his season total to eight. Adrian Phillips had his two interceptions, with Devin McCourty knocking away a pair of passes as well. In total, the Patriots deflected eight passes.

Next week the Patriots are back on the road, facing the Carolina Panthers. That game kicks off at 1 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 10 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.