Sony Shines As Patriots Advance To Arrowhead

Sony Shines As Patriots Advance To Arrowhead
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The New England Patriots booked their ticket to the AFC Championship game with a dominant victory over the LA Chargers on Sunday night.

Their 41-28 win sets up a tasty rematch of the week six win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sony Michel smashed his way through the Chargers defence on his way to a three touchdown, 129 yard performance.

Tom Brady (34/44, 343, 1TD) made big plays in the passing game, as the Patriots balanced offence outfoxed a Chargers unit that had been unstoppable against the Ravens last week. It was a phenomenal performance by the New England offensive line who didn’t allow a sack on Brady all night. Rob Gronkowski, although not prominent in the passing game, had a stand out game blocking, as did James Develin.

Brian Flores, the Patriots defensive signal caller, clearly spent the bye week drawing up something special for the game. Philip Rivers was sacked twice and hit seven times. He was also intercepted by Stephone Gilmore. Albert Mclellan recovered a Desmond King fumble. New England’s defence held LA to just 19 rushing yards.

Fans of the Miami Dolphins will hope that is a glimpse of their future as Flores is hotly tipped to become their new head coach.

White and Michel in the mix…

New England took the lead with an opening drive touchdown. In a sign of things to come, New England took over seven minutes off the clock. Josh McDaniel’s offence featured a mixture of pass and rush plays to keep the Chargers guessing. Running back James White had five receptions but it was Sony Michel who punched the ball in from the one yard line.

One of my keys to the game, White would end the game with 15 receptions. It was a performance that ties Darren Sproles post season single game running back reception record.

The Chargers fired back on the next possession as Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen combined for a 43 yard touchdown to tie the game.

Julian Edelman contributed 42 yards on the next Patriots drive, before Michel scored on a 14 yard touchdown run. Edelman would end the night with 151 yards.

The Chargers were forced to punt for the rest of the half and the frustration in Rivers was clear to see.

There were no such frustrations for New England as touchdowns for Philip Dorsett, Rex Burkhead, and another Sony Michel score gave the Patriots a 35-7 halftime lead.

Clock ticks down for Chargers…

After the Chargers went three and out to open the second half, the Patriots engineered another clock draining drive ending in a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. New England dominated the time of possession as well as dominating the Chargers offence.

Philip Rivers ended the night with 331 and three touchdowns. Unfortunately most of those came in the fourth quarter and with the game already out of reach.

His quest for a Super Bowl ring goes on for another year. Chargers fans can console themselves knowing that they have a team full of young superstars lead by a wise old head in Rivers. There is still a wide open window for a Super Bowl run.

As head coach Anthony Lynn told ESPN: “One game doesn’t define where we are as a team”.

For Brady and the Patriots it will be their eighth straight AFC Championship appearance.

When Kansas City travelled to New England in the week six, Sunday Night Football thriller, the Patriots edged it 43-40.

“It’s going to be a good game” Brady said “They’re a good team. We played them earlier this year. I know everybody thinks we suck and, you know, we can’t win any games, so we’ll see. It’ll be fun”

After watching the Chiefs dismantle the Colts, and the Patriots steamroll the Chargers, I’m sure it will be.

Photo Credit: David Butler II (USA TODAY Sports)

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