Although the New England Patriots trailed for most of the game, they outplayed the Los Angeles Chargers and it started to show as the game progressed. The Patriots dominated possession in the second half and scored 11 unanswered points in the final quarter to secure a 27-24 victory.
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Mac Jones completed passes to eight separate receivers but struggled to move the chains in enemy territory, resulting in four field goals. Jones completed 52% of his passes for 217 yards but didn’t record a touchdown in a game for the second time this season. The rookie QB did make two big-time throws and had zero turnover-worthy plays.
Mac Jones by passing depth
|Completions||Attempts||Yards||First Downs||Passer Rating|
|9 yards or less||12||21||86||4||66.8|
Damien Harris received most of the work on the ground but couldn’t break anything loose against the Chargers. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry with his longest attempt going for 10 yards. He received six carries in the fourth quarter to close the game out but only gained 11 yards and zero first downs.
Harris finished the day with 80 yards and a score from 1-yard out.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Eight different receivers caught a pass in the game and five went for over 30 receiving yards, but none dominated despite going against a Chargers secondary that lost its two starting cornerbacks. Nelson Agholor led the team in receiving yards (60), with 44 coming on one reception. Jakobi Meyers became Jones’ safety blanket in the fourth quarter, as the two connected multiple times for first downs to close out the game.
The Patriots offensive line kept a clean pocket for most of the game, as the unit allowed nine pressures and one sack. Ted Karras allowed four of the nine pressures and was the only offensive lineman to grade below 65.0 in pass protection upon first review. Shaq Mason received the highest pass-blocking grade (80.5) but was responsible for giving up the sack.
Matthew Judon dominated in pass-rush situations, as the former Raven accounted for nine pressures and 1.5 sacks. His 24.2% win rate led all pass rushers, and he will likely earn his best defensive grade on the season (89.1).
Dont’a Hightower was largely ineffective in this matchup. His low defensive grade (39.6) is likely a result of his performance against the run, where he missed one tackle and received more negatively graded plays against the run than positively graded plays. He also conceded two receptions for 26 yards in coverage.
Adrian Phillips secured a key pick-six late in the fourth quarter to help propel his team to victory. Phillips also intercepted Justin Herbert earlier in the game set up a field goal before halftime. His 91.9 coverage grade is set to be among the highest in the NFL in Week 8. Devin McCourty forced an incompletion both times he was targeted and earned a 78.2 coverage grade.
Jalen Mills allowed a late touchdown and was the only member of the Patriots secondary to allow more than 50 yards in coverage.
|Player||Targets||Receptions||Yards||INT + Forced Incompletions|
Justin Herbert had a sub-par performance coming off the team’s bye week, completing 51% of his passes for 223 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. One pick went through the hands of his receiver, but the second was an inaccurate throw that resulted in a pick-six.
Hebert did have some success throwing downfield, as he completed six of his 10 attempts beyond 10 yards for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Justin Herbert from a clean pocket
Austin Ekeler’s hip injury heading into the game proved to be a non-factor, as the Chargers running back carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards and a touchdown. He was only able to break one run for over 10 yards, with 75% of his yards coming after contact. Ekeler also caught six receptions for 60 yards but suffered the drop that resulted in an interception.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Compared to the Patriots, the Chargers were on the opposite end of the spectrum, as Herbert connected with just four receivers before the last-minute scoring drive. Keenan Allen was the only receiver to get open in coverage, hauling in six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Palmer caught a contested fourth-quarter touchdown but Allen was the only receiver to go for over 25 receiving yards.
The Chargers offensive line played well for most of the game but started to crumble in the fourth quarter. Storm Norton allowed the most damage, conceding seven of the team’s 13 pressures. Rashawn Slater played every pass-blocking snap (39), allowing two pressures to earn a 77.5 pass blocking grade upon first review.
|Player||Pass-Blocking Grade||Pass-Blocking Snaps||Sacks Allowed||Pressures|
|Michael Schofield III||47.1||39||1||3|
Joey Bosa was mostly ineffective against the Patriots, as the edge rusher only created one pressure on 30 pass rushing snaps. Justin Jones created the most pressures on the team (3), while Jerry Tillery earned the lone sack on Jones. Linval Joseph made three defensive stops against the run and is set to be the only defensive lineman to grade above 70.0, upon first review.
Kyzir White earned the highest coverage grade on the team (77.9), conceding three receptions for 40 yards. Despite allowing a 106.3 passer rating when targeted, only one reception went for a first down.
The Chargers secondary started to become thin when starting cornerbacks Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. left the game with injuries. This led to Chris Harris Jr. being picked on throughout the game, as he gave up a team-high in receptions (4) and receiving yards (82).
Derwin James was mostly successful against the run — the former All-Pro safety finished with three defensive run stops and two tackles for loss. James was also responsible for allowing three receptions and two first downs in coverage.
|Player||Targets||Yards||Forced Incompletions||Passer Rating|
|Chris Harris Jr.||6||87||0||109.7|
|Asante Samuel Jr.||2||25||0||118.8|