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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Patriots
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The Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) look to make it four in a row when they visit the New England Patriots (5-2). Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 10:00am PT.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Philip Rivers has quietly had another standout campaign, heading into Week 8 ranked fifth in passing yards (1,816), fifth in completions (156) and seventh in touchdowns (12). He’s gotten solid protection up front, as his 10 sacks are the fifth-fewest of any quarterback with at least 200 pass attempts. Rivers’ top target continues to be Keenan Allen, who has hauled in a team-leading 36 receptions for 487 yards and one TD. KA13 is the NFL’s most productive weapon on third down by a good margin, as his 16 catches for a first down are five more than the next closest player. Meanwhile, Hunter Henry continues to dominate as the tight end has 21 catches for 301 yards and a pair of TDs. However, the team’s most dynamic player has been running back Melvin Gordon. The third-year pro has carried the rock 117 times for 394 yards and three rushing touchdowns while ranking second on the team with 29 catches for 228 yards and four receiving TDs.
On Offense for the Patriots
Tom Brady continues to play at an elite level even at the age of 40, leading the league in passing yards (2,208) and completions (174) while ranking second in TDs (17). He has a bevvy of weapons at his disposal as five players have caught at least 28 passes from him this season. Running back James White leads the way with 38 receptions, followed by Danny Amendola (29), Rob Gronkowski (28), Brandin Cooks (28) and Chris Hogan (28). Hogan also leads the team with five receiving touchdowns, followed closely by Gronkowski (four) and Cooks (three). On the ground, newcomer Mike Gillislee leads the team with 87 carries for 321 yards and four TDs while Dion Lewis has 43 carries for 227 yards and a pair of scores.
On Defense for the Chargers
Fresh off a shutout, the Chargers are one of only two teams in the NFL to boast three players with at least five sacks (Melvin Ingram – 8.5, Joey Bosa – 7.5, Chris McCain – 5.0). As a team, the Bolts rank fourth with 23 total sacks. They’ve also forced seven takeaways over the past three games, with five different players recording an interception over the course of the season.
On Defense for the Patriots
In his seventh season, Devin McCourty continues to show why he’s made multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams. The safety has been everywhere for the Pats, leading the way with 53 tackles. Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy is a close second, tallying 49 tackles while tying for the team lead in sacks (3.5) with defensive end Trey Flowers. Finally, former Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler has snagged two of New England’s five picks on the year.
The series dates back to the inaugural season for both teams in 1960 as the first game between the two AFL squads was played Oct. 8, 1960. Just over three years later, the two teams would meet in the AFL Championship game on Jan. 5, 1964, a 51-10 victory for the Chargers. Overall, the all-time series sits at a 23-12-2 advantage for the Patriots. The teams last met in 2014 and will be playing for the first time in Foxborough since 2011.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 17th in total offense (330.4 yards per game), eighth in passing (251.3 ypg), 31st in rushing (79.1 ypg) and 20th in points (19.6). The Patriots rank first in total offense (410.7 ypg), second in passing (300.0 ypg), 17th in rushing (110.7 ypg) and sixth in points (27.9).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 13th in total defense (326.0 ypg), fifth in passing (185.4 ypg), 31st in rushing (140.6 ypg) and eighth in points allowed (18.7). New England ranks 32nd in total defense (426.7 ypg), 32nd in passing (310.3 ypg), 22nd in rushing (116.4 ypg) and 23rd in points allowed (23.7).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers needs 22 completions to pass Warren Moon (3,988) for 8th-most in NFL history.
Keenan Allen needs three catches to reach 260 for his career, which would pass Terrell Fletcher for 14th in team history. With seven more, he’ll pass Freddie Jones for 13th in team history.
With one more touchdown catch, Tyrell Williams will become the 10th Charger to ever reach double-digits in TD receptions.
The next touchdown pass between Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates will be the 86th connection for the pair, breaking a tie with Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second-most in NFL history.
Gates is 11 catches shy of tying Torry Holt for 20th-most receptions in NFL history.
Noteworthy vs. the Patriots
Philip Rivers has faced the Patriots five times during the regular season and had three games with more than three hundred yards passing. Rivers is 120-for-180 for 1,388 yards and nine touchdowns. He holds a 92.5 rating and a 66.7 completion percentage.
In one of the gutsiest performances in NFL history, Rivers, playing on a torn ACL and less than a week after getting his knee scoped, attempted 37 passes and threw for 211 yards in the Conference Championship Game in New England on Jan. 20, 2008.
Antonio Gates has totaled 26 catches for 304 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots in six career regular season games.
Jahleel Addae set a then-career high with eight tackles, including six solo stops and forced his first career fumble in his lone game against the Patriots.
Patriots DL Lawrence Guy played for the Chargers from 2013-14.
Patriots Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia is from Los Angeles, Calif.
Patriots WR Matthew Slater is from Orange, Calif.
CBS – Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Evan Washburn (sideline)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 - Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across 11 radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ-AM (Palm Springs), KALZ-AM (Fresno), KBFP-AM (Bakersfield), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).