The Patriots continue to find different ways to win, while the Chargers continue to find new and creative ways to lose, with special teams heavily involved.
New England prevailed 23-20 in San Diego after newly signed kicker Kris Brown doinked a 50-yard field goal off the upright with 27 seconds to go. No one can rightly blame Brown for the loss; the much-maligned Chargers special teams actually was an asset in this game as they recovered an onside kick in the fourth quarter that made the game so close.
It was a bizarre game all around. The Chargers defense played outstanding overall, holding the Patriots to just 210 total yards. The Patriots led 20-3 going into the fourth quarter, and it could have been much worse. Tom Brady was held to just 159 yards on 32 attempts, and New England’s leading rusher had 24 yards.
The difference was turnovers. The Patriots took the ball away four times and didn’t give up the ball. For the season, the Chargers are -7 on turnover differential, while the Patriots are +6.
That’s why the Patriots are cruising at 5-1, and the Chargers are in serious trouble of their first losing record since 2003 and their first time out of the playoffs since Drew Brees tore his shoulder in the 2005 season finale.