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Patriots capitalize on Chargers’ mistakes, 21-13

  • New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski spikes the ball after catching a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots' Jonathan Jones top and Brandon King (36) tackle Los Angeles Chargers punt returner Travis Benjamin (12) in the end zone for a safety during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Michael Dwyer

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers drops back to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots running back James White (28) runs away from Los Angeles Chargers safety Jahleel Addae (37) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Michael Dwyer

  • New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, right, celebrates his touchdown catch with lineman Joe Thuney during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Michael Dwyer

  • Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward (26) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Michael Dwyer

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes under pressure from Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) and defensive end Tenny Palepoi (95) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Michael Dwyer

  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Michael Dwyer

  • New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (33) returns the opening kickoff of the second half past Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Novak (9) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne



Associated Press
Sunday, October 29, 2017

FOXBOROUGH — With his final attempt to bring his team back failed, Philip Rivers pulled off his helmet and flung it toward the Gillette Stadium turf. It bounced back perfectly and into his waiting hands.

It was one of the few things that a Los Angeles Chargers player executed well in their 21-13 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday.

Tom Brady passed for 333 yards and a touchdown, Stephen Gostkowski added four field goals to help the Patriots (6-2) hold on for the victory, their fourth straight.

The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Chargers.

New England got its lone touchdown via a 2-yard toss from Brady to Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter. The Patriots went 1 for 4 in the red zone, but were able to cobble together the Gostkowki field goals and a safety. The defense, which gave up 30 or more points three times in their first four games, has given up just 51 points total over its last four. And it did it this time without linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who sat out Sunday’s win and expected to miss the remainder of the season following shoulder surgery .

“We just wanted to come out here and play for him,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. “It’s always rough when you have a season-ending injury. ...We just want to show our support that we’re holding it down for them.”

Los Angeles (3-5) got on the board first when Melvin Gordon found a seam on the outside and rumbled down the sideline for an 87-yard touchdown run . But the rest of the game was marked by Los Angeles’ mistakes and inability to move the ball offensively.

The Chargers cut the Patriots’ lead to 18-13 with 8:30 to play following a 24-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin and failed 2-point conversion pass. They got the ball back a final time after New England added Gostkowski’s fourth field goal. But Rivers’ pass with 1 second remaining was intercepted at the goal line by Jonathan Jones.

Rivers finished 17 of 30 for 212 yards.

Los Angeles’ mistakes were highlighted in a wild way in the second quarter when Benjamin muffed a punt inside the Chargers 15, recovered it and retreated all the way to own goal line while trying to reverse field. He was corralled by a Patriots group that included Brandon King, Matt Slater and Jones, then finally wrapped up by King and tackled in the end zone for a safety.

“We weren’t going to let him escape,” Jones said.

Rivers had a similarly head-scratching play early in the third quarter when he rolled to the outside to escape the pass rush, but had the ball slip out of his hands for a fumble. He recovered, but the play resulted in a 20-yard loss and a sack credited to Van Noy.

INJURIES

Patriots: RT Marcus Cannon left in the first half with an ankle injury. ... WR Chris Hogan left with a shoulder injury from the same collision with Pullard.