Roles reversed as Pats’ defense edges out win

The New England Patriots (6-2) defeated the Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) in Foxborough today 21-13. The Patriots defense and special teams were the big story this week and for the first time, it was the offense that seemed to struggle the most. On the Charger’s second drive Melvin Gordon broke free for an 87 yard touchdown run and it seemed like it was going to be another defensive struggle for the Patriots, but that was not the case. The Patriots defense only allowed one touchdown the rest of the game and stopped the two-point conversion try after that touchdown, giving up only 13 points, forcing five punts, one interception, and a season low 192 passing yards. The special teams also had a great day, tipping another field goal try and forcing a safety on a punt return by Travis Benjamin of the Chargers. Doing all of this without one of their defensive captains Dont’a Hightower and starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The offense however only scored 18 points throughout the game even though they possessed the ball for 37 minutes. It wasn’t a matter of moving the ball. They had scoring opportunities on seven of their ten offensive drives, but only capitalized on five of them. The Patriots only scored one touchdown on four visits to the red zone and ended kicking six field goals. Gostkowski had his roughest day of the season so far, going 4-6 on his field goal attempts, but he can’t be blamed for the weak offensive performance by the Patriots because he shouldn’t have been so heavily relied on. The Patriots had 414 total offensive yards, but simply couldn’t get the ball into the end zone today. That will most definitely be a point of emphasis in practice moving forward. The Patriots have plenty of time to figure this it out though as they enter their bye week and now have two weeks to prepare for the November 12th matchup in Denver against the Broncos.