The 2020 New England Patriots looked like perhaps the 2007 New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers, dominating the game with little pushback en route to a 45-0 victory.
The game marked the first time since 2014 that the Chargers were shut out, after the 2014 game against Miami in which they lost 37-0. And it also marked the worst loss in Chargers history after the previous record margin of defeat was 41 points, set twice, the most recent in 1973.
The Chargers had a lackluster performance across seemingly all facets from offense and defense to even their special teams’ unit.
Chargers QB Justin Herbert finished a rough outing throwing 25-for-50 for 209 yards and two interceptions as he was just off all game long but also didn’t have long to settle in the pocket due to poor pass protection. On the flip side, the Chargers allowed just 69 yards to Patriots QB Cam Newton but couldn’t stop the New England rushing attack as Newton and RB Damien Harris combined to run for 148 yards and score two touchdowns on the ground.
What was already a rough first half became even worse when a half-ending field goal attempt from Nick Folk was blocked and subsequently returned by longtime Patriots DB Devin McCourty 44 yards for a touchdown that gave New England an insurmountable 28-0 halftime lead.
The Patriots continued their brand of shut-out football through three quarters even, taking a 35-0 lead into the final frame.
It became even worse in the game’s fourth quarter when undrafted sensation from Bemidji State Gunner Olszewski caught a 38-yard touchdown from Jarrett Stidham, who was in in relief for Newton, to increase the New England lead to 45-0 with just 6:50 remaining. Olszewski also had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first half to give him a total of 183 total yards from scrimmage.
Offensively, it wasn’t pretty but the Chargers were led by Austin Ekeler, who ran eight times for just 36 yards in the loss. Herbert couldn’t find much of a groove but did connect with Keenan Allen who led the team with five receptions for 48 yards.
Rookie first-round linebacker Kenneth Murray led all tacklers in the game with 14 tackles including 12 solo tackles and the defense’s lone bright spot, a sack.
The Patriots only out-gained the Chargers by a margin of 291 to 258 but did have a significant advantage in first downs and conversion percentage through the game.
No discussion about the Chargers’ outing against the Patriots could be complete without mention of head coach Anthony Lynn, who’s days may absolute be numbered after this embarrassing showing from his team.
You can bet we’ll be following along with that closely this week if anything were to happen.
The Chargers are back in action against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, December 13. The Falcons dropped their game against New Orleans on Sunday and the game will feature the 4-8 Falcons against the 3-9 Chargers.