Tom Brady, Patriots Demolish Chargers, Will Face Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs | Bleacher Report

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws during the third quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New England Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the eighth straight season by beating the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 in the divisional round Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.   

Tom Brady threw for 343 yards and a touchdown, and James White caught 15 passes for 97 yards. Sony Michel provided ground support, running for 129 yards and three scores.

Philip Rivers finished 25-of-51 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and an interception


Patriots’ Physical Approach the Perfect Counter for High-Powered Chiefs

The total yards illustrated the gulf between the Patriots and Chargers on Sunday. New England outgained Los Angeles 498-335.

The Patriots achieved that largely by dominating the point of attack. The New England offensive line ranked third in adjusted line yards and first in adjusted sack rate entering the divisional round, per Football Outsiders. That unit routinely manhandled the L.A. defensive line.

The Chargers didn’t help themselves by loading up on defensive backs to guard against the pass.

The trend extended to when Los Angeles had the ball and needed to protect Rivers against the New England front seven. Though the Patriots recorded only two sacks, they consistently pressured Rivers and forced him into quick throws.

This is the recipe the Patriots need to recreate against the Chiefs.

Kansas City allowed 405.5 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry, both of which ranked second-worst in the NFL. The Chiefs will have a hard time pushing the Patriots offensive line backward and preventing Michel from getting to the second level.

The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, showed how much a defense can throw Patrick Mahomes off his game by hitting him 15 times in Week 14. Mahomes finished 35-of-53 for 377 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and his 91.5 passer rating was his third-lowest of the season.

Beyond just the specter of playing the Patriots in the playoffs, New England presents Kansas City with a stylistic nightmare in the AFC title game.


What’s Next?

The Patriots will meet the Chiefs in the AFC title game. As the top seed, Kansas City will host the contest, which will kick off at 6:40 p.m. ET Jan. 20.

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