RB LaDainian Tomlinson (Donald Miralle/Getty)
The Chargers exacted their revenge on the New England Patriots with precision and execution. Samantha Fillerup shares her postgame notes and anecdotes from the seventh straight nationally-televised night win for the Bolts, who broke the 12-game road winning streak of the Patriots.
--The Chargers wanted to capitalize on the New England Patriots' weak secondary, and with a 48-yard pass to Vincent Jackson on the first play from scrimmage, sent that message early. Philip Rivers hit a personal best three passes of 40-plus yards.
Rivers was efficient and led with confidence as he completed 18 of 27 passes for 306 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Patriots changed their defensive lineup from series to series and play to play, and Rivers and the offensive line read and adapted each time. The line provided excellent pass protection for Rivers, as he was not sacked once.
"The offensive line was outstanding," Rivers said. "They play hard. You don't know how many I complete and they're saying 'Were you good? Were you clean there?' They take a lot of pride in it and I certainly appreciate it. Any time the ball is going up the field like it was, you've got to have time back there and those guys gave it to me."
--LaDainian Tomlinson played a rough and tumble game as he had 20 carries for 74 yards. He became the 17th player in NFL history to surpass the 11,000 career rushing yard milestone and ended the game at 11,055. Even with LT limited by a sprained big toe, he unselfishly acts as a decoy and provides vital pass protection.
--Two of the NFL's most accurate kickers went head-to-head with the Bolts' Nate Kaeding and the Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski. Kaeding entered the game having converted 9-of-11 attempts while Gostkowski came in with a perfect 10-for-10 mark. Oddly enough, each missed a field goal in the game. Kaeding hit the upright from 44 yards out and Gostkowski missed a 48-yard try. Kaeding helped redeem himself by hitting his other three attempts.
--The Bolts' defense has given up the second-most passing yards (253.5 per game) and the third-most passing touchdowns (10) in the League. However, the defense delivered a goal-line stand on the first drive of the second half and kept New England out of the end zone on four tries from inside the 2-yard line.
The Bolts' defense brought its best on Sunday and everyone made a difference. Eric Weddle led with 10 tackles. Quentin Jammer grabbed his first interception of the season and held Randy Moss to three receptions for 26 yards and no touchdowns.
Antonio Cromartie, despite some shoddy tackling, provided tight coverage. However, he's beginning to grow frustrated at the lack of action coming his way.
"I only get thrown at, I think, once the whole game, so I can't say I played…I feel like these past three games I've been playing pretty good technique," Cromartie said. "I'm still dealing with my hip. Yesterday I felt a lot more comfortable than I ever did in the past four games. So it's been going well with rehab and things like that."
--With WR Chris Chambers out with an ankle injury, someone had to step up and fill the void. Vincent Jackson came through with five receptions for 134 yards, the highest yardage total by any Chargers receiver since 2003 (David Boston). Malcom Floyd also contributed three receptions for 75 yards and his first touchdown since 2006.
--Patriots QB Matt Cassel was under pressure the whole game and could not escape the hungry Chargers' defense. Cassel was sacked by Stephen Cooper, Ryon Bingham, Marques Harris and Igor Olshansky. Cooper's sack was his first of the season. Harris' sack lifts his total to 2.5, a half-sack shy of his career-high.
--Darren Sproles continues his excellent work on special teams. Sproles' kickoff return average (30.4 yards) ranks third in the NFL amongst players with at least five returns. On punt returns, Sproles' average of 14.3 yards ranks second amongst players with more than five returns. Sproles buttressed that number with a 28-yard punt return against the Patriots before leaving the game with an ankle injury.
--Mike Scifres is on track to challenge a record that spans more than 60 years. Sammy Baugh recorded a 51.4 punting yardage average during the 1940 season. Scifres came into the Patriots game with an average of 52.6 yards, but after averaging just 32.7 yards on three punts, his season average dipped to 50.7.