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.
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.