Chargers 4-0 After a 21-14 Win Over the Patriots

LaDainian Tomlinson and the offensive line paved the way to a San Diego win. Tomlinson gained 217 yards on the ground with 2 touchdowns on 27 carries.

Tomlinson's first TD was setup after Adam Vinatieri missed a 41 yard field goal attempt. Vinatieri had made 15 straight field goals. After a wide receiver screen to Tim Dwight that gained 11, Drew Brees dropped back to pass 3 plays later and had no open receivers. Brees took off and gained the yardage needed for a first down sliding head first. 3 plays later Tomlinson broke through the Patriot defensive line behind a pulling Jason Ball and went 37 yards for a TD. That score tied the game up at 14-14 with just over 2 minutes left in the first half.

On the first possession of the second half, Tomlinson went 58 yards on a fake reverse for his 2nd TD. On the play Tomlinson cut back the same way the reverse would have gone and raced down the sidelines. Tim Dwight ran ahead of him and made a key block on Otis Smith at the 10 yard line that allowed Tomlinson to go into the end zone untouched. The score ended up being the game winner as it put the Chargers ahead by 7, 21-14, where they stayed.

The Patriots came out on fire with their first possession of the game. Tom Brady went 5-6 on the drive which was capped off by a touchdown reception by Christian Fauria. That put the Patriots up 7-0.

Later in the first quarter, Drew Brees hit Curtis Conway for a 52 yard touchdown. Conway beat Otis Smith on the play and Brees delivered the ball to Conway in stride. The score knotted the game at 7-7.

Early in the 2nd quarter, Brady hit linebacker Mike Vrabel for a touchdown from 1 yard out. As if it was not enough that the Chargers had to defend the many weapons the Patriots have, they also end up having to worry about a linebacker running routes. Vrabel was wide open as he was left uncovered. On the drive Brady went 6-7, 3 of which went to rookie Deion Branch. Branch ended the game with 13 receptions for 128 yards.

In the game, the Chargers went for two 4th and 1's on the same drive during the 3rd quarter. The first one at their own 38 was successful as Tomlinson turned a loss of 3 into a 2 yard gain. On the 2nd attempt Brees tried to draw the Patriot defense offsides but they did not bite. After a timeout the Chargers gave the ball to Tomlinson again but he was not so lucky and got dropped for a loss of one. Later in the game the Patriots attempted a 4th and 1 on the San Diego 39. Marc Edwards ran right and was bottled up by Ben Leber for no gain. Bill Belichick challenged the spot of the ball but was denied.

The Patriots had one last chance to tie the game as they got the ball back with 1:51 to go. Darren Bennett pinned the ball within the 5 yard line on a 53 yard punt to setup the Patriots and Brady for their final drive. Brady brought the team out to the San Diego 45 burning their final timeout along the way. The Patriots also got the benefit of a referee challenge as the officials called a pass catch by David Patten incomplete. After reversing the call the Patriots were back in business driving. With :17 seconds to go Brady threw a pass to Kevin Faulk across the middle. Faulk then made an ill advised lateral that Alex Molden jumped on. Ryan McNeil was flagged for removing his helmet but it was after the Chargers recovered and with :07 seconds to go, the Bolts secured their win.

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