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Chargers hand Pats first Gillette loss in 22 games

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=251002017" target="_blank">ESPN</a>

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- This was finally the week the New England Patriots couldn't plug the holes left by injuries -- not against Drew Brees and San Diego's explosive offense.

    The Chargers handed the Patriots their first loss in 22 games at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, beating them 41-17 as Brees threw for two touchdowns, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two more and Antonio Gates had 6 catches for 108 yards.

    It was the first loss in Foxborough for the Patriots since Dec. 22, 2002, when they were beaten by the New York Jets. That was the only season in the last four that they failed to win the Super Bowl.

    The last time the Patriots started a season 2-2 was 2003, though they went on to win the title that year anyway.

    It could have been the weather -- the temperature at game time was a San Diego-like 73 degrees.

    But it also was the missing Patriots -- the first time in three years it seemed apparent that New England couldn't just plug in bodies to replace fallen starters

    Though the game was tied 17-all at the half, Brees took advantage of a secondary that already was already without two of its top three cornerbacks and now is without safety Rodney Harrison, lost for the year with a knee injury. Harrison's absence was clearly felt on one play in the third quarter when backup running back Michael Turner ran right through Harrison's replacement, Guss Scott, on the way to an 18-yard pickup.

    That drive ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Reche Caldwell that gave San Diego (2-2) a 31-17 lead. Brees also had an 11-yard touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell in the second quarter.

    Gates, a former basketball player, also leaped over Scott to take in a 38-yard pass from Brees at the New England 1 on the first series of the second half. That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Faulk, that broke that 17-all halftime tie.

    Tomlinson finished with 134 yards on 25 carries and overall, San Diego rushed for 183 yards against a defense that also is without last year's starting inside linebackers, Ted Bruschi and Ted Johnson.

    That first half included a rarity -- a missed field goal by New England's Adam Vinatieri, who was wide right from 37 yards on the Patriots' first possession.

    One of the San Diego scores, the pass from Brees to McCardell, came after a drive that actually covered 101 total yards because of penalties against the Chargers. The other came on an 8-yard TD run by Tomlinson, extending his NFL record to 16 consecutive games with a rushing touchdown.

    New England scored on Corey Dillon's 1-yard run and a 30-yard pass from Brady to Tim Dwight, who was released by San Diego in March. Vinatieri's 24-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the half tied the game.

    The final score came on an interception by Donnie Edwards of a pass by third-string quarterback Matt Cassell that was lateraled to Clinton Hart. Hart ran 40 yards for the TD.
     

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