Patriots - Chargers: Familiar Foes

The New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers have plenty of history together, not much of it good. The teams have had some close battles.

The Good Streak
The Patriots won their eighth consecutive game following a bye after rallying to beat Baltimore this past weekend.

The Patriots are 4-1 overall, which makes this the fourth time under head coach Bill Belichick they've won four of their first five games.

Familiar Foes
The quarterback battle Sunday features two signal-callers with similar success against their respective opponent.

Patriots QB Tom Brady is 2-0 against the Chargers in the postseason and 2-0 in the playoffs while San Diego QB Philip Rivers is 1-1 in the regular season against New England, but 0-2 in the postseason.

In his last regular-season game against the Chargers (Sept. 16, 2007), Brady threw for 279 yards with three touchdowns in a 38-14 win.

Brady has been familiar with the Chargers since the start of his career. In 2001, when he got his big break as a starter in place of Drew Bledsoe, Brady had his first 300-yard game against San Diego, a 364-yard performance in the Patriots' 29-26 overtime win.

That win by Brady was, at the time, the Patriots' 10th consecutive win over San Diego, a streak that began in 1973.

Looking Back At History
Twenty-six years ago this week (Oct. 25, 1984), Raymond Berry earned the Patriots' head-coaching position in place of Ron Meyer.

The ninth coach in team history, Berry eventually took the Patriots to their first Super Bowl during the 1985 season against the Chicago Bears.

Seen Them Before
The Patriots have played the Chargers so often, head coach Bill Belichick swears they belong in the AFC East with the rest of New England's division foes.

"There's been a lot of big games and it's gone both ways," Belichick said. "We've gotten handled out there a couple of times. We got handled out there in '08 (30-10) and in '02 (21-14). It's been kind of mixed bag.

"Same thing here. We've been handled here and we've done all right here. It's been a competitive rivalry. They're not quite a division team, but they feel like a division team. They've turned some guys over this year, but there's been some continuity."

FLASHBACK: 2006 AFC Playoffs (via Hulu)

Harsh Penalty
TE Rob Ninkovich's reaction to S Brandon Meriweather's $50,000 fine: "Wow!"

Ninkovich added: "That's a lot of money. It's a shame that that's a $50,000 fine but I guess the NFL is trying to get their point across to everybody that they're not going to tolerate that. It's good that he's not suspended because I feel like that wouldn't really be fair to him."

Paying Dividends
Patriots RB Danny Woodhead has made an immediate impact in his role on offense, joining a long list of castoffs who've contributed within the system.

"He's another good example of what's unique about certain guys and they're able to get acclimated right away," Patriots QB coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's a guy that came in and had never been in our system, and as a running back, there's a lot involved there ... that guy, intelligence-wise has come in and done a great job for us."

BY THE NUMBERS: 72 -- The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 61-11 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's out of my control. I can get my team ready for the Chargers. That's where my focus is and will be for the week." -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on coaching his defensive players to avoid illegal hits.

Notebook courtesy The Sports Xchange.

Patriots Insider Top Stories