Chargers razor sharp in Gillette

The San Diego Chargers went into Gillette Stadium on Sunday with plenty of questions and left most behind after a convincing victory. The only mystery left is how good the Patriot team they were facing really is?

The week that was talked about a measuring stick. Playing the best to get a feel for where they stand.

But after the game, the Chargers weren't as thrilled about the victory as one might expect.

Sure they are at .500 and one game off the AFC West lead, but this was supposed to be a game that they could test themselves against the best.

The Patriots were obviously not at their best, especially with injuries decimating the squad. But they have been able to overcome injuries in the past.

"No one can quantify when one more injury is going to tip the bowl," Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "There comes a time where it has to catch up with you, even with a team as great as this one."

And it was clear the loss of Rodney Harrison was a blow the Patriots could not overcome.

Guss Scott tried to cover Antonio Gates but the Pro Bowl tight end was open whenever Drew Brees needed a big play.

And heck, even Reche Caldwell caught two passes. The receivers were taking liberties they may normally have been hesitant to without a heavy hitter patrolling the middle of the field.

"You miss that presence of Rodney," wide receiver Keenan McCardell said. "That guy that's the tempo-setter. The tone setter. Right now, they're probably looking for that guy."

"Obviously, they missed Rodney Harrison," Brees said. "Any time a leader goes down like him, it's hard to come back and be the same defense."

The Chargers pounded out 431 yards of offense and scored forty plus points for the second straight game. They are obviously no slouches. The defense still shut the Patriots out in the second half, meaning the Bolts would have been in good position no matter who was on the field for New England.

But they head home wondering, if for a day, what sort of litmus test they endured.

A 21-game winning streak at home in the NFL takes a little bit of luck and every team faces their own injuries. Last year it was LaDainian Tomlinson and a groin injury that lingered through the year. They responded by winning 12 games.

In the end, the win was so convincing, the Chargers have to feel pretty good about the way they have started the toughest part of their schedule.


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