BOSTON (CBS) — For the eighth consecutive year, the Patriots will be playing in the AFC Championship Game. And they’re going there coming fresh off an old-fashioned blowout.
The Patriots earned the right to move on by defeating the Los Angeles Chargers, 41-28, on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady threw for 343 yards on 34-of-44 passing, throwing one touchdown and no interceptions. Sony Michel ran for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Julian Edelman caught nine passes for 151 yards, while James White caught 15 passes for 97 yards.
The game began with the Patriots marching 83 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession. Michel plunged in from the 1-yard line after Rob Gronkowski drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. But the Chargers answered right back, with Stephon Gilmore guessing wrong on a Keenan Allen route, allowing the receiver to haul in a 43-yard touchdown pass.
After that, though, the Patriots stepped on the gas pedal offensively, scoring on three straight drives to build a 28-7 lead. The Chargers finally forced the Patriots to punt, but Desmond King muffed the return, and Albert McClellan recovered the ball before it rolled out of bounds. Michel ran in a five-yard touchdown three plays later, and the Patriots took a 35-7 lead into halftime.
The second half was mostly a case of these two teams simply playing out the remaining minutes, as the game had pretty much been decided already.
The Patriots now move on to face the Chiefs, in Kansas City, next Sunday at 6:40 p.m.