Philip Rivers wanted it badly, a win against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to extend their respected Super Bowl chances.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for the 15-year veteran signal caller for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Brady threw for 344 yards and a touchdown and Sony Michel ran for 129 yards and had three touchdowns in the New England Patriots triumph 41-28 victory over the Chargers in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Round game at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s tough, I was excited this week, I was excited to come back here,” said Rivers, who is 0-5 in games played in Foxborough and 0-8 all-time against Brady. “It was an emotional week a little bit just being back here in the postseason after being here 11 years ago almost to the day. I think like every team, when you go into the game, you expect to win, and I certainly thought we were going to have a better outing. But we didn’t.”
In the win, New England earned their eighth straight trip to the AFC championship game and will travel to Kansas City next Sunday to play the top-seeded Chiefs.
“It’s going to be a good game,” Brady said on the rematch with Kansas City. “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.”
Although Rivers played well and finished 25-of-51 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, Los Angeles was doomed after a horrid first half.
The Patriots scored on their first four possessions of the game and held a 35-7 lead at halftime.
Michel led the charge early and scored from 1 yard on the opening drive of the game to cap a seven minute,14-play offensive flourish.
Allen and the Chargers responded with a 43-yard score on the next possession to tie the game at 7-7.
That would be as close as Los Angeles would get.
Michel added a 14-yard score, followed by a 15-yard touchdown from Brady to Phillip Dorsett with 12:17 remaining in the second quarter. Six minutes later, Rex Burkhead ran in a six-yard score, capped off by another five-yard touchdown for Michel to complete the 28-0 avalanche of unanswered points.
“They jumped out on us,” running back Melvin Gordon said. “And they just kept attacking and kept attacking and kept attacking. It’s hard to win when they’re scoring 35 in the first half.”
“I was in shock,” receiver Keenan Allen said. “I didn’t know what was going on. It just felt like, I don’t know, we couldn’t do anything right. Bad day.”
Gordon finished with only 26 all-purpose yards and a touchdown, while Allen had two receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.
“One game doesn’t define where we are as a football team,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “Those men, they fought hard all year and there were some difficult situations that we fought back and won. And today, we just couldn’t get that done.”
Los Angeles ultimately fell two games short of clinching a trip Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Super Bowl LIII.
Brady will look to beat Chiefs, MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes, for a chance to be one step closer to earning Super Bowl ring number six.
Kick-off between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs is Sunday Jan. 20, at 3:40 p.m.