New England Patriots

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 10: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots reacts during the first half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Patriots have improved to 4-4 on the season after pulling out a huge road win over the Los Angeles Chargers. They’ve now proven that they’re able to hang with a good team and make big plays in crunch time, in this case Adrian Phillips’ fourth-quarter pick-six.

Scroll down for a recap of the game’s top highlights and live updates.

  • Q4, 2:19: Patriots pad their lead

    The Patriots have successfully chewed clock, forced the Chargers to burn their timeouts, and extended their lead to two possessions. Nick Folk is good from 30 yards to give the Pats a 27-17 lead.

    Now time for the defense to close it out. Desperation mode for Los Angeles. Patriots are 2:19 from their biggest win of the season.

  • Q4, 9:15: Patriots follow up pick-six with defensive stop

    The Chargers couldn’t respond after a Herbert pick-six. Penalties back them up and they can’t convert third-and0-long. They have to punt it back, giving the Patriots a chance to chew some clock.

  • Q4, 10:11: Phillips Pick-Six gets Patriots back in the lead

    Huge play for Adrian Phillips, as he picks off Herbert on third down, gets up, and runs it all the way to the end zone. The pick-six gives the Patriots the lead back. The two-pint attempt to Meyers is good, making it 24-17 Patriots. Clutch defense for New England.

  • Q4, 12:47: Belichick's challenge denied

    Bill Belichick decided to challenge a ruling that a Chargers holding penalty occurred outside of the end zone. If it did occur in the end zone, it’s a safety. But the ruling was upheld.

  • Q3, 0:48: Chargers retake lead

    The Chargers made a couple of chunk plays to get back into field goal range, and despite being stopped on third down, L.A. kicker Dustin Hopkins is good from 48 yards and has given his team a 17-16 lead.

    Austin Ekeler got the drive rolling with a 28-yard scamper.

  • Q3, 3:39: Patriots take their first lead

    Thanks to steady Nick Folk, the Patriots have grinded their way to the lead. After Folk’s third straight field goal conversion, the Pats are now up 16-14 over the Chargers.

    Mac Jones had a chance to hit Jakobi Meyers on third down, but the throw was just a little high and off Meyers’ hand. Workload note: Kendrick Bourne did not play a snap on that last possession, a sign he’s been benched for his lost fumble.

  • Q3, 8:48: Pats defense steps up again

    The Patriots have really quieted the Chargers since their second touchdown. This time, Herbert is flushed out of the pocket on pressure from Myles Bryant and Matt Judon, and his third-down pass attempt is incomplete.

    The Patriots and Chargers both got away with penalties on the punt return, as they commit offsetting fouls. Gunner Olszewski is having a nice day. He returns this one 27 yards to give the Pats good field position. Again. Can the offense hold up their end?

  • Q3, 10:31: Bourne fumbles on third down

    Kendrick Bourne made the catch on third-and-15, but was bottled up around the 30-yard line. All he had to do was go down without fumbling and give them a shot at the field goal. Instead, Bourne loses the ball while on his feet and the Chargers recover. Patriots come up empty-handed on their first drive of the second half. Potentially a killer turnover if the Chargers can take advantage.

  • Q3, 11:30: Patriots moving the ball to start second half

    Let’s take a moment during an injury timeout to talk about this first Patriots drive of the third quarter.

    They call three straight runs to jump-start things, and a third-down handoff to Brandon Bolden is converted. N’Keal Harry just made his first catch of the game, a 15-yard grab to set up first-and-10 from the Chargers’ 33-yard line. Here comes another opportunity for the Patriots to cash in. Can they find the end zone this time?

  • HALFTIME: Chargers 14, Patriots 13.

    The Patriots grabbed two Nick Folk field goals to close the gap on the Chargers, but a pair of big plays by Los Angeles has made the difference so far in this one.

    The Patriots need better play-calling and execution in the red zone, because they’re not likely to come away with a win if they have to keep kicking field goals. Plus, Mac Jones needs to be better. The timing has looked off and Jones has had issues making plays with the Chargers’ pressure coming down on him.

    The Patriots defense, meanwhile, tightened things up a bit after the Chargers’ second touchdown. The D and punt return game is setting up the offense with good field position. The offense is going to have to complete that complementary football chain in order for New England to pull the upset in the second half.

  • Q2, 0:15: Patriots get three more points

    The Patriots can’t completely cash in on their last opportunity in the first half, but they pick up enough yardage for Nick Folk to knock it right down the middle from 48 yards. It’s now 14-13 Chargers.

    Mac Jones hasn’t had a good half. He overthrew Agholor on a deep ball that would have had a chance to be a touchdown and has had trouble with the Chargers’ pressure.

  • Q2, 0:57: Phillips intercepts Herbert

    Adrian Phillips just intercepted a Herbert attempt for Austin Ekeler, which clanged off the running back’s hands. The Patriots get yet another opportunity for a late score.

  • Q2, 1:37: Chargers get a stop, have a chance to score

    The Patriots had two minutes and all three timeouts with a chance for late points, but could only take 10 seconds off the clock. They have to punt after a third-down deep ball to Meyers is incomplete, because he could only get one foot in bounds after making a nice grab. The Chargers now have a chance for a late score of their own…

  • Q2, 3:36: Patriots take the points, cut deficit to 4

    Nick Folk is good on a 24-yard chip shot to make it 14-10 Chargers.

    It was a promising drive for the Patriots, who ran the ball well with Damien Harris. But unfortunately, on third down Jones was pressured and had to get rid of the ball. The throw is low and Hunter Henry wasn’t looking for it yet, so it’s incomplete and the Pats have to settle for a field goal.

    However, they could have a chance for late points if they can get a quick stop against the Chargers…

  • Q2, 7:11: Patriots get a stop and good punt return

    The Patriots have great field position after the defense gets a stop and Gunner Olszewski returns it 22 yards. Another golden opportunity for the Patriots, and a chance to make up for their last drive, starting at the Chargers’ 36-yard line.

  • Q2, 8:36: Patriots turn it over on downs

    The Patriots faced fourth-and-goal from the Chargers’ 1-yard line. They show some aggressiveness to decide to go for it. Unfortunately, they decide to put their third-down passing package on the field, and the play-call is an end zone fade to Jakobi Meyers. The play never had a chance. Patriots turn it over on downs, with the Chargers getting the ball at their own 1 with a 14-7 lead.

    Bill Belichick will have to hope his defense can make a big play with Los Angeles backed up against their own end zone.

  • Q2, 10:22: Big play for Hunter Henry

    New England is threatening to find the end zone again, after Mac Jones hits Hunter Henry on a busted coverage for a 33-yard gain.

    The game has taken an injury timeout as Chargers rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. is slow to get up.

  • Q2, 12:35: Chargers make another big play, score again

    The Chargers have retaken the lead. Justin Herbert has time to throw and hits Keenan Allen in the end zone, and the extra point is good to make it 14-7 Los Angeles.ย 

    Easily the biggest play of the drive was Justin Jackson’s 75-yard run. Jackson blew by Dont’a Hightower then found a seam through the secondary to break free. J.C. Jackson showed good hustle to chase him down before he could score a touchdown. But the Chargers found the end zone, anyway.

  • END Q1: Patriots 7, Chargers 7.

    Solid opening quarter for both teams. Each side has a touchdown and a defensive stop as the second quarter begins. But the Patriots are punting after Jerry Tillery sacks Mac Jones on third down.

    It looked like Tillery beat David Andrews and Shaq Mason up the middle. Jones had to move up in the pocket with Joey Bosa screaming around the edge against Mike Onwenu, and Tillery was there waiting for him.

  • Q1, 2:43: Patriots defense rebounds

    A good response by the Patriots defense after allowing a touchdown on the Chargers’ opening drive. Matt Judon was unblocked on second down, which allowed him to get to Justin Herbert for a sack to make it third-and-14. Judon nearly gets him again before Herbert scrambles, but Kyle Dugger was there to make the tackle short of the first down. No aggressiveness from Brandon Staley here, as the Chargers punt.

  • Q1, 6:26: Patriots answer

    An impressive answer for the Patriots, who go 75 yards for the touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Damien Harris pounded into the end zone as the Patriots went with the three-tight end “Jumbo” package.

    The big strike for the Patriots on this drive was Jones’ deep shot down the field for Nelson Agholor on a first down. It paid off, as Agholor reeled it in for a 44-yard gain.

  • Q1, 10:54: Chargers strike first

    The Chargers took advantage of getting the ball first with an impressive touchdown drive to go up 7-0.

    The big spark on the drive was a 41-yard Justin Herbert bomb to Keenan Allen. The receiver broke free down the field with no one within five yards of him.

    New England’s red zone defense got the Chargers to fourth-and-1, but L.A. went for it and converted with a power run, Next play, Austin Ekeler powered his way into the end zone with help from the line. He looked to possibly have had his forward progress stopped, but the officials never whistled the play dead.

  • Patriots win coin toss and defer

    The Patriots have won the opening coin toss and elected to defer their choice to the second half. The Chargers will receive to start the game.

  • J.J. Taylor among inactives; Stevenson active

    Running back J.J. Taylor is among the inactives for the Patriots today. He’s been swapped out for rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, who figures to be a real factor in the Pats’ ground attack against the Chargers’ light linebacking corps and 32nd-ranked run defense.

    Here’s a full list of the Patriots’ inactives, plus the list for the Chargers below.

    TE Devin Asiasi
    OL Yasir Durant
    LB Brandon King
    LB Ronnie Perkins
    RB J.J. Taylor
    CB Shaun Wade

    The Chargers are allowing a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry, so the hope for the Patriots is they have trouble with Stevenson, and Damien Harris, for that matter.