Los Angeles Chargers 28-41 New England Patriots: Pats reach eighth-straight AFC Championship game
Last Updated: 14/01/19 8:38am
Sony Michel ran for 129 yards and had three touchdowns as the New England Patriots comfortably beat the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 on Sunday to earn their eighth straight trip to the AFC championship game.
New England will now play the Chiefs in Kansas City in next week's AFC title game. The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in Foxborough in Week Six earlier in the season.
The Patriots carved up the Los Angeles defense early on, scoring on drives of 83, 67, 58 and 87 yards to start their day, then cashed in a fumbled punt return for a fifth touchdown and a 35-7 lead just before half-time.
Every aspect of New England's offense did its job. Tom Brady completed 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards and a 15-yard scoring strike to Phillip Dorsett in the second quarter, while rookie running back Michel was the real star with scoring runs of one, 14 and five yards.
Brady also made liberal use of running back James White and wide receiver Julian Edelman - White caught 15 passes for 97 yards and Edelman added nine catches for 151 yards, a franchise-record fifth 100-yard game in the playoffs.
Defensively, the Patriots made the Chargers one-dimensional with their first-half explosion of points. Running back Melvin Gordon managed only nine carries for 15 yards and a third-quarter touchdown, forcing Philip Rivers to carry the load.
Chargers quarterback Rivers struggled against a relentless Patriots pass rush, finishing 25 of 51 for 331 yards, with three touchdowns - two coming late in the fourth quarter, with the game already over - and an interception.
Rivers is 0-5 for his career in games played in Foxborough, including 0-3 in the postseason.
Chargers 0-7 Patriots: Sony Michel one-yard touchdown run (Stephen Gostkowski extra point good)
Chargers 7-7 Patriots: Philip Rivers 43-yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen (Michael Badgley extra point good)
Chargers 7-14 Patriots: Michel 14-yard touchdown run (Gostkowski extra point good)
Chargers 7-21 Patriots: Tom Brady 15-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett (Gostkowski extra point good)
Chargers 7-28 Patriots: Rex Burkhead six-yard touchdown run (Gostkowski extra point good)
Chargers 7-35 Patriots: Michel five-yard touchdown run (Gostkowski extra point good)
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Chargers 7-38 Patriots: Gostkowski 28-yard field goal
Chargers 14-38 Patriots: Melvin Gordon one-yard touchdown run (Badgley extra point good)
Chargers 14-41 Patriots: Gostkowski 30-yard field goal
Chargers 22-41 Patriots: Rivers one-yard touchdown pass to Virgil Green (Rivers-Allen two-point conversion)
Chargers 28-41 Patriots: Rivers eight-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates (Failed two-point conversion attempt)
Game's key stats
|L.A. CHARGERS||NEW ENGLAND|
|Passing||C/A Yds TD Int||Passing||C/A Yds TD Int|
|Philip Rivers||25/51 331 3 1||Tom Brady||34/44 343 1 0|
|Rushing||Att Yds TD||Rushing||Att Yds TD|
|Melvin Gordon||9 15 1||Sony Michel||24 129 3|
|Receiving||Rec Yds TD||Rex Burkhead||4 12 1|
|Tyrell Williams||5 94 0||Receiving||Rec Yds TD|
|Keenan Allen||2 75 1||Julian Edelman||9 151 0|
|Mike Williams||5 68 0||James White||15 97 0|
|Antonio Gates||5 41 1||Phillip Dorsett||4 41 1|
|Virgil Green||1 1 1||Rob Gronkowski||1 25 0|
|Total yards||335||Total yards||498|