New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 03: Bailey Zappe #4 of the New England Patriots throws a pass while being chased by Tuli Tuipulotu #45 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots’ horrific 2023 season continued to go downhill on Sunday, as they fell to the Los Angeles Chargers by a 6-0 final on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

New starting quarterback Bailey Zappe didn’t fare much better than Mac Jones ever did during the season, going 13-of-25 passing for 141 yards and no touchdowns. Zappe didn’t throw an interception, but he did take five sacks and had a turnover on downs twice.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert wasn’t much better, at 22-of-37 for 212 yards. But he did drive Los Angeles down the field just enough for two successful field goal tries, and that was more than enough to secure a win. The Patriots, meanwhile, fell to 2-10 on the season.

Patriots-Chargers Highlights

After trading punts with the Chargers for the first two possessions, the Patriots were putting a decent drive together, before L.A. made the first play worthy of the highlights. They recovered a fumble by Rhamondre Stevenson to get the ball back on their own 33-yard line, after the Pats had driven 60 yards in 13 plays.

Unfortunately for Stevenson, the third-year back appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury on the play and had to be helped off the field.

The Patriots were able to get the stop on the ensuing Chargers possession, but had to start on their 5-yard line. So, essentially, the fumble set them back 62 yards. They then went three-and-out to give it back to the Chargers.

However, the punt-fest continued in the second quarter. But the Chargers played the field position game well, pinning the Pats down and forcing a punt from out of the end zone. The Chargers then drove 27 yards to get to the red zone.

Patriots safety Jalen Mills saved a touchdown with a great leaping pass breakup against tight end Gerald Everett, then Herbert’s third-down attempt for Keenan Allen fell incomplete. Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker converted from 38 yards out, though, for the game’s first points and a 3-0 lead for L.A.

  • The Pats had a chance to drive for points late in the first half after a big third-down tackle for loss by linebacker Josh Uche forced an L.A. punt. Here’s how the ensuing Patriots possession went: incomplete pass, 1-yard loss, false start by DeVante Parker, incomplete pass, punt.

    L.A. then got a 34-yard punt return by Derius Davis, getting them into field goal range. Herbert couldn’t get the Chargers into the end zone, so they settled for another field goal to go up 6-0. That would be the score at halftime.

  • Zappe and the Patriots put a promising drive together to start their first possession of the third quarter, but ultimately had to punt. Zappe’s best play on the drive was actually a run, as he made a good pump-fake to give himself enough room to run for a first down.

  • Ultimately, the teams got to the fourth quarter with the score still at 6-0 Chargers. The fourth began with the Patriots punting it back to the Chargers.

    The Pats defense got yet another stop on the Chargers, then the next offensive possession suddenly showed signs of life, after receiver Tyquan Thornton took a handoff for a 39-yard gain.

  • The Patriots ultimately faced fourth-and-5 and went for it. The Chargers sacked Zappe for a turnover on downs.

  • The Patriots eventually got the ball back with less than four minutes left in regulation. Zappe led them down on a 29-yard drive, but ultimately got stopped again on fourth down to give it back to L.A. Herbert made one more completion to ice the game for good.

    Up Next: It’s a quick turnaround for the Patriots, who have their Thursday night slate on tap against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium.

    Get complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content.

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