A Belichick type of game that he loves where the team came to play on offense, defense, and special teams. After coming off a hard-fought win against the Cardinals last week, they had a similar script for LA. More execution in this game is what led the score to a blowout win for the Patriots 45-0.
When Bill faces rookie Quarterbacks, he tends to have a lot of success, and this was no different. Offensive rookie of the year frontrunner Justin Herbert has looked great for the Chargers since he came into start week 2. He has been passing the ball very well, having multiple 300-yard games and touchdowns in all of the games he has started. That would change this game as Bill had something cooked up for the rookie forcing him to turn the ball over twice.
Cam Newton "Euro-Stepping" his celebration after a pair of rushing touchdowns (Photo By: AP Ashley Landis)
The Chargers could never get it moving and the pressure up front was a rare sight for New England as they recorded three sacks on the rookie and were beating on him all game. The secondary matched up well against a stacked receiving core, including Keenan Allen, one of the best route runners in the league who had 16 receptions two weeks back against the winless Jets. Another weapon for the Chargers is tight end Hunter Henry, who Bill had lots of praise for throughout the week. This didn't seem to bother the Pats secondary that much as Henry was limited to one catch for short-yardage and Allen with five grabs on the day for just under 50 yds. Rookie Kyle Dugger was matched up with Henry most of the time on Sunday and did a good job sticking with him as he has been improving over the last few weeks. This is a positive sign for the team showing Dugger was worth their first selection in this year's draft. On a 4th down overthrow from Herbert, JC Jackson added to his interception total, making it seven on the year, which is right up there with the league-high. The other interception was made by Chase Winovich, who made a great play dropping back into coverage.
The script on offense when they win has been pretty similar. Run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball. Newton only attempted 19 passes and completed 12 of them while lead back Damien Harris continued his impressive season, picking up 80 yards on 16 carries. Michel and Newton also ran the ball 10+ times each. Newton found the endzone twice at the goal line and celebrated in Cam fashion. He also threw one to WR N'keal Harry, which is the Patriots need to have teams worry not only on the run when they get inside the 10. This is the old school approach that Belichick has decided on this year to give them their best chance to win. The offense at times only needs to score two touchdowns and still be able to win. In this game, they would have only needed one but scored four. This is the right trend for the offense, which is going to be key if they want to get a spot in the playoffs.
Special teams were a big part of the Patriot's win on Sunday, which is always something Belichick takes pride in to always be at its best. Not only did they have a lot of return yardage on punts, but they also came up with an incredible blocked field goal for a touchdown just before the half ended to go up 28-0. The kick was blocked by safety Cody Davis and picked up by Devin McCourty who ran it back for the touchdown. It was their second touchdown on special teams as they returned a punt for a score earlier in the game. It is tough to beat teams that have one touchdown on special teams and almost impossible when they have two. This is how Belichick and the Patriots can beat teams in different ways.
Gunnar Olszewski scored on a punt return and caught his first touchdown pass on Sunday (Photo by: Harry How/Getty Images)
Player of the Game:
The player of the game was second-year WR Gunner Olszewski, who has not got many chances to make plays on offense and has got most of his snaps on special teams, had a pair of touchdowns. Last week he was robbed of his 1st career touchdown on what was ruled as an illegal block after he ran by all 11 Cardinals on a punt return. He had many chances this game with all the punting from LA and that was what he needed to get what he deserved last week. He took one to the house and this time 70 yards without any yellow laundry behind him. This put the patriots up two scores early in the second quarter and was helpful to the offense to take the pressure off from having to find a way to put up seven. Another first for Gunner also took place in this game late in the 4th quarter after most of the starters were taken out, including Quarterback Cam Newton. Jarrett Stidham came in for a couple of drives and he was able to complete a couple of passes, one of those being for a 38-yard touchdown to Olszewksi. His contributions were just another positive in a blowout win as it is nice to see the young players be able to connect for a score.
Next Week Outlook:
The Patriots have a short week this week, having to face the Rams on Thursday night in LA. This will be the first matchup of the two since the Rams lost to New England in Super Bowl 53 in a defensive battle. They won't have to travel much because they're playing in the same stadium as Sunday. The advantage goes to New England here as Belichick is much more familiar with short weeks than head coach Sean McVay of the Rams. I do believe this will be much closer than the Chargers game however, I believe the Patriots will beat the Rams by one possession on Thursday night with Quarterback Cam Newton rushing for at least 2 touchdowns. The Rams have been playing well with having a win against the Buccaneers a few weeks back and beating the Cardinals this past week. They have a tough defensive line with Aaron Donald leading the pack, who is one of the best in the business. They will have their hands tied with him and may have to find other ways to move the ball other than running up the middle. It should be a good one and a big test to the Patriots in what is must-win football for them.
Author: Cameron Quinlan