BOSTON (CBS) — We’ve got ourselves a football season in New England. The Patriots are now riding a win streak, victorious on two straight Sundays following a solid 27-24 road victory over the Chargers on Halloween.

We have been waiting for a good, solid win by the Patriots all season, and they got just that Sunday in Los Angeles. The defense played spectacular against a tough Chargers offense, while the New England offense — for the most part — did its part. It was far from perfect, but it was a much-needed victory over a quality opponent.

It was also a good follow-up to last weekend’s trouncing of the Jets. With two straight wins, the Patriots are now 4-4 on the season and have some new life the rest of the way. With nine games to go in the season, things are looking up for the New England Patriots.

Here are the Ups and the Downs from Sunday’s victory out west.

Ups

Adrian Phillips

The safety burned his former team with a pair of interceptions on Sunday, including a pick-six early in the fourth quarter that gave New England a 24-17 lead with 10:11 to play.

Phillips has nine career interceptions — four of which have come in the last two seasons for the Patriots.

Big Boy Drive

After the Phillips pick-six and a three-and-out forced by the defense, the Patriots offense took over with 9:40 left needing to go on a big boy drive to kill some clock.

They did just that, going on a seven-play, 54-yard drive that took 6:54 off the game clock. Mac Jones found Jakobi Meyers on a key third-and-1 to move the chains and force the Chargers to start calling timeouts.

The drive ended with a Nick Folk field goal with 2:19 left to give New England a 27-17 lead. Solid work by the offense on its final, non-kneel down possession of the game.

Solid Afternoon Overall By Defense

Other than one monster run by Justin Jackson, the Patriots defense didn’t allow much on Sunday. Justin Herbert was held to just 223 passing yards while completing just over 50 percent of his passes. Putting pressure on Herbert was a focus of the defense all day, and they came through on that front. The Patriots sacking the Chargers quarterback him three times and forced him into quick decisions throughout the contest.

The Patriots defense held the Chargers to just 4-for-12 on third down. Job well done by the defense, and they were rewarded with a win — something that hasn’t happened often this season.

Judon Is A Beast

But you already know that. Judon continues to be New England’s most impactful player on defense, finishing Sunday with 1.5 sacks and five tackles.

Judon was left unblocked off the edge and sacked Herbert in the first quarter, and then picked up a half-sack on Los Angeles’ final drive when he finished off a Christian Barmore sack. He was all over the place on that final drive, causing a pair of throwaways on first-down plays.

Harris Gets His

The New England run attack didn’t put up any ghastly numbers against the worst run defense in the league, but the Patriots still got 141 yards on the ground, led by Damien Harris’ 75 yards on 18 carries. He could have had an even bigger day if it weren’t for some holding penalties on the offensive line.

Nick Folk

The veteran kicker is as solid as they come. He connected on all four of his field goal attempts — from 24, 48, 48 and 30 yards out — in Sunday’s victory.

Downs

Rattled Mac

After starting the game 6-for-9, Jones looked a little rattled to close the first half. He completed only two of his 13 passes to finish, and he was really errant on the final drive of the first half.

He was un-Mac-like overall with only a 51 percent completion percentage, and there were several throws that Jones will definitely be shaking his head at during this week’s film session.

4th-And-Goal

After the Chargers took a 14-7 lead, the Patriots went on a nine-play, 74-yard drive to… nowhere.

The Pats got to the L.A. four-yard line thanks to a 33-yard hookup by Jones and Hunter Henry. Jones went incomplete to Kendrick Bourne on first-and-goal, and a Damien Harris run picked up three-yards on second-and-goal to set New England up at the one-yard line.

In some truly puzzling play calling by Josh McDaniels, he kept New England’s stout run game in his back pocket against the worst run defense in the NFL and called for two straight passes. Henry couldn’t get off the line on third-and-goal and Jones’ pass sailed incomplete. Then McDaniels called for a fade route to Jakobi Meyers on fourth-and-1 that also sailed incomplete, ending the drive with zero points on the board for New England.

Not a great set of down for Josh McDaniels.

Red Zone Offense

After that goal-to-go fiasco, the Patriots defense got the ball back to the offense after a quick three-and-out. The New England offense got as close as the L.A. six-yard line, but that was it.

Jones threw the ball away on second down and his third-down pass hit Henry in his legs, leaving the Patriots to settle for a field goal to make it 14-10.

The Chargers had the 21st-ranked red zone defense heading into this weekend’s matchup. But the Patriots were just 1-for-4 in the red zone on Sunday.

Harris Burned By Holds

Harris had a 28-yard touchdown run to finish off New England’s first possession of the second half taken off the board because of a hold by Justin Herron.

It led to a downward spiral for the offense, as the Pats once again left points on the field. The Patriots were in field goal range but two plays after that hold, Kendrick Bourne fumbled away a reception that was picked up by Chargers safety Nasir Adderley at the L.A. 25.

Harris had another big run taken away because of a hold in the third quarter. That time it was a 23-yard scamper that was wiped out by an Isaiah Wynn hold.

These are the silly penalties that the team has to cut out.

Hightower Juked Into Next Week

It has been a tough year for Dont’a Hightower. He’s going to feel even worse when he sees this replay over and over and over again.

Ouch. That 75-yard run by Jackson was the longest rush allowed by the Patriots since an 87-yard run by Melvin Gordon in 2017.

Mills Gets Burned — Again

Jalen Mills had an even worse play on Sunday, getting burned by Josh Palmer on a late touchdown to cut it to 27-24 with 40 seconds left. The issues for the cornerback continue.

 

CBSBoston.com Staff