Room For Improvement

The New England Patriots escaped San Diego with another close win to improve to 5-1. Head coach Bill Belichick isn't buying into the record that could easily be 3-3 if it weren't' for 23-20 wins over the Chargers and Ravens.

In the aftermath of a game in which they didn't play particularly well, the Patriots return home feeling good about themselves following a 26-23 win at San Diego on Sunday.

The Chargers entered the game 2-0 at home and nearly pulled it out in the end after scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, but the Patriots held on when Kris Brown missed a game-tying field-goal attempt in the closing seconds.

"Tough place to play, good football team," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "(The) Chargers do a lot of things well. They've got a lot of talent. Always a tough place to play, and (there have) been a lot of hard-fought games out there.

"Good to come up with a few more plays than San Diego did (Sunday and) come out on top. A lot of big plays in the game that affected it, or had they gone a little bit differently, things might've been different either in their favor or maybe more in our favor. I don't know, but in any case, it came down to a couple plays there at the end."

San Diego had a chance after stuffing the Patriots on fourth-and-1 in its own territory, but it failed to get close enough to make Brown's field-goal attempt manageable. His first shot at a 45-yarder was negated by a false start penalty, pushing him back five additional yards.

The Patriots are proud of the win, which improved their record to 5-1, but they're also cognizant of some of their missed opportunities, which might have added more separation between the teams.

Belichick said, "We missed opportunities in all three phases of the game -- missed them on offense with good field position. We had a couple of plays where we could've really ended drives -- third down, fourth down -- (and in the) kicking game, missed opportunities there.

"Start off the game with a penalty. Had four penalties on special teams in the first half. Certainly, a lot of room for improvement, no question about it. We could've done just about everything better at some point or another."


--Linebacker Jerod Mayo had his third consecutive game with 10 or more tackles after finishing with 11 against San Diego.
Mayo became the first Patriots player to finish three consecutive games with 10 or more tackles since Tedy Bruschi went three straight games with 10-plus tackles in 2006.
Mayo had 17 tackles at Miami on Oct. 4 and 19 against Baltimore two weeks later. Sunday was his fourth game in 2010 with 10 or more tackles; he also had 11 in the opener against Cincinnati.

--The Patriots have started the season with at least five wins in their first six games for the fourth time under coach Bill Belichick after improving to a 5-1 record with the win over San Diego.
The Patriots' best records through six games under Belichick are 6-0 in 2004, 5-1 in 2006 and 6-0 in 2007.

--Wes Welker extended his streak to 69 consecutive regular-season games with at least one reception.
He has caught at least one pass in each of his 55 games with the Patriots, including three postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was Dec. 24, 2005, when he was with the Dolphins.

--WR Julian Edelman's 34-yard punt return in the second quarter was the second longest of his career. He had a 35-yard return against Tennessee last October.

--PK Stephen Gostkowski has 14 kickoffs that have gone for touchbacks. Last season he set a career high of 21, tying a franchise record.

--QB Tom Brady has a 45-21 (.682) career record as a starter on the road, and Sunday's win was his fourth in a row against San Diego, including the playoffs.

--DL Mike Wright was credited with a five-yard sack in the fourth quarter, marking his third consecutive game with a sack. The last Patriots player to go at least three consecutive games with a sack was Richard Seymour, who had 3.5 sacks in a four-game stretch in 2008.

--S Sergio Brown was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Saturday and played in his first NFL game as a reserve at safety and on special teams.

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