By Tim Peterson
(Inglewood) – New England jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and rolled to a 45-0 rout of the Chargers Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
The Pats led just 7-0 after one but hit LA with 21 points in the second quarter to break it wide open.
The Patriots got started right away. They marched right down the field on the first possession going 75 yards on 13 plays with Cam Newton finishing it with a one-yard dive to go up seven.
Early in the second quarter Gunner Olszewski (cool name) returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Pats a 14-0 lead. Olszewski ended up burning the Chargers twice more with big plays later on.
Later in the quarter New England marched 54 yards on 16 plays with Newton again finding paydirt on a two-yard plunge.
The Chargers, who had already punted three times in the first half, tried to make something happen late in the second quarter. Instead of settling with a 21 point deficit at the half, Michael Badgley was brought out to attempt a 58-yard field goal. Badgley, who had already missed a 46 yarder in the first quarter, this time had it blocked and Devin McCourty recovered and sprinted to the endzone for a touchdown as time ran out on the first half. The Pats waltzed into the break up 28-0.
The song remained the same in the second half. Justin Herbert was intercepted by Chase Winovich at the LA 32 on the Chargers first series of the third quarter. Seven plays later Newton hit N’Keal Harry on a five-yard touchdown strike to make it 35-0 mid way through the quarter.
Olszewski then got loose again with a 61-yard punt return down to the Charger 17 yard line early in the fourth quarter. That set up a 32-yard field goal by Nick Folk to make it 38-0 with 11:21 left.
Olszewski continued to run wild. On the Patriots next possession he hauled in a 38-yard pass from Jarret Stidham, who had replaced Newton, and cruised into the endzone and suddenly, and this is no typo, it was 45-0 Pats.
After the Chargers were stopped on fourth down the Patriots ran out the clock.
“Let me just start by saying that was one of the worst football games that I’ve ever been a part of in my 30 years in the National Football League as a player and a coach,” said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “It’s not acceptable and it’s not indicative of the men in that locker room. I watched closely and not one guy on that field quit. This team will battle and bounce back and regroup. I will personally make sure that it never happens again. It was unacceptable and embarrassing.”
Newton completed 12 of 19 for 69 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 48 yards and two scores on 14 carries for the victorious Patriots. Damien Harris led the rushing attack with 80 yards on 16 carries.
For the Chargers Herbert threw for 209 yards completing 26 of 53 but was hurt by two picks. LA had just 70 yards on the ground.
With the loss, the Chargers dropped to 3-9 on the year while the Patriots got back to .500 at 6-6.
NE 7 21 7 10 45
LA 0 0 0 0 0