By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodnsports.com
With a 3-8 record at this point in the season, the Chargers are playing spoiler for the rest of the season. By beating the Patriots, who have a record of 5-6, they would give the Patriots their 7th loss of the season. This would be somewhat monumental for the NFL, as the Patriots have not lost more than 7 games in a season since 2002.
To get the win, the Los Angeles Chargers would need a duplicated effort from their defense which generated three takeaways last week vs the Buffalo Bills. Last week Joey Bosa had career highs in sacks, quarterback hits, and tackles for a loss he also eclipsed Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau for No. 5 on the team’s all-time sacks list. Additionally, Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is setting records of his own this season, one of them being, he has thrown multiple touchdowns passes in seven consecutive games, setting the all-time rookie mark, Tossed three-plus touchdowns five times, setting the record for a rookie quarterback. He has also tied ties an all-time rookie record by passing for 300 yards six times this season.
However, New England enters Sunday’s game with the NFL’s fifth-ranked rushing attack. Cam Newton leads their rushing attack having scored nine scores on the ground, which has him tied them for fifth this season. On their defensive side of the ball, J.C. Jackson has a team-high six interceptions which have him ranked second in the NFL and had helped them to win three of its last four games.
Cam Newton scores two rushing touchdowns in the first half, which adds to his 9-rushing touchdown for the season. This continues his pace of becoming the first QB in the Super Bowl era with at least twice as many rushing touchdowns as pass touchdowns in a season (min. 8 starts). His second touchdown was sandwiched between two of their worse special team mishaps of the day, a returned punt that went for a touchdown than a blocked field goal attempt that was returned for a Patriots touchdown to sap the energy out of the Chargers just before the half.
Coming out of the half, the Chargers offense continued its futility today by Herbert throwing two interceptions in the third quarter, leading to Newton’s first touchdown pass in a couple of weeks. Before this game Justin Herbert was the only rookie in NFL history with 300+ pass YPG and a 100+ passer rating, this unique stat is sure to take a hit after this game.
A couple of other streaks that have been broken up is Austin Ekeler 4 game average of 126.8 scrimmage Yards Per Game this season, Also Keenan Allen’s has 5 game touchdown streak, which happened to be the longest of his career. The Chargers still have yet to win a game where they have trailed by 10+ points or more since 2018.
The Patriots defensive back J.C. Jackson’s 3rd quarter interception was his 9th takeaway of the season, which happened to be the 2nd-most by a Patriot player in a season since 2002. This was complemented by Cam Newton’s passing for a touchdown and rushing for a touchdown for the 42nd time in his career. For the 4th time, Cam rushed for 2 rushing touchdowns this season which is the most by QB in a season since 1950. His 2-yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter gave him his 69th career rush touchdown, the next closest QB in league’s history has 44. Additionally, Cam rushed for 10+ touchdowns for the 3rd time in his career. No other QB has more than 1 such season all-time.
As good as a season that Justin Herbert has had, there’s no way Bill was going to overlook him coming into this game. Belichick has a well-documented history of making young quarterbacks look worse than they are, as Herbert’s 43.7 quarterback rating was the worse of the season. Belichick’s 20-5 record against rookie quarterbacks, is evidence he confuses most rookie quarterbacks he faces.
As you might have imagined, heading the team’s second shutout in franchise history, Anthony Lynn was not pleased with his team performance against the Patriots. Coach Lynn, opened up his post-game press conference by saying emphatically, “That was on if the worse football game I’ve ever been a part of in my 30 years in the National Football league as a player and a coach! It’s not acceptable, it’s not indicative of the men that’s in that locker room! I know I will personally make sure that will never happen again because that was unacceptable and embarrassing.”
With Special Teams being a major cause for concern in recent weeks and knowing that Coach Lynn adjusted the Coaching Staff (reassigning long term friend and former Special Teams Coach George Stewart). He made it clear leading up to the game that he would be assisting coaching up that position group. I was interested in knowing if he thought there may be too many voices for that position group to handle and he responded by saying, “Right now, this is what we’ve got to work with. I’m helping out there because we need help there… The operation today was not good, it was unacceptable!”
For multiple weeks now, we’ve heard Anthony Lynn talk about the resilience of this team and their record not being indicative of the team’s personality. During his Coach Lynn’s press conference on Monday, he seemed to acknowledge that he’s reconsidering how the Special Teams will be coached moving forward by stating, “we may eliminate the coaching by committee… one voice definitely could help.” Additionally, I asked him about a famous quote from one of his mentor’s Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are,” and how what he thought about that statement. His exact words were, “He’s 100% correct.”
For week now, I’ve been reluctant to say we are seeing the final weeks of Anthony Lynn’s coaching stint with the Los Angeles Chargers. However, because they have been losing in such a unique fashion and these losses appear to be getting progressively worse I’d be surprised if he returned as Head Coach. Kindly share your thoughts on if you see this union finishing the season, by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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