Every team has off weeks in the NFL. The season is a grind, and sometimes even the Patriots have a bad day. But since this is the Patriots, they often find a way to slog out a win -- especially when they’re playing a team like the Chargers.
After the big win against the Falcons the week before, both offense and defense looked... flat. The offensive numbers looked good on paper (333 yards passing, 97 yards rushing), but finishing drives was a problem. The defense gave up 157 rushing yards, including an 87-yard TD to Melvin Gordon. It felt like “one of those games.”
And yet, when the Patriots needed an answer they got one. After the long Gordon TD, they put together their longest drive of the game, ending in a TD to Gronk that may be his easiest of his career.
Their next drive sputtered, but poor decision making that would make Mark Sanchez/Chuck Pagano proud saw a Patriots punt turn into a Chargers safety.
And that would be a lead the Pats wouldn’t relinquish, but the game never felt out of reach. The Patriots would uncharacteristically squander prime scoring opportunities, including coming away with zero points after a Dion Lewis kick return started a drive at the Chargers 25.
Fortunately, the Chargers proved to be even more inept, and were finally finished off by a Jonathan Jones interception at the goal line to preserve the 8 point victory, harkening back to their week 5 win over the Bucs.