|Date of game: 12/7/2014
Recap: San Diego vs. New England
San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Tom Brady has Philip Rivers' number.
It's that simple.
Brady threw for 317 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as the New England Patriots defeated the San Diego Chargers, 23-14, on Sunday night.
New England's signal-caller improved to 6-0 all-time against Rivers' Chargers.
Julian Edelman totaled 141 yards on eight catches with a touchdown that essentially sealed the game in the fourth quarter, and Rob Gronkowski also caught a touchdown pass for the Patriots (10-3).
Rivers couldn't generate much offense for his team throughout the night, throwing for 189 yards with a touchdown and interception.
San Diego (8-5) had its three-game winning streak snapped and will host AFC West-leading Denver in a pivotal division matchup next Sunday.
"We're going to rebound, bounce back and play like crazy next week," Rivers said. "There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves."
The first points of the second half came on Stephen Gostkowski's 38-yard field goal with 10:34 left in the fourth to push the Patriots ahead, 16-14.
Following a three-and-out by the Chargers, Edelman broke a tackle and scampered 69 yards into the end zone to extend the cushion to 23-14.
The Chargers didn't have an answer, however, and New England chipped off over four minutes of clock, leaving little time for its opponent.
Rivers' pass to Antonio Gates on 4th-and-5 was short of the marker and Brady took a knee to run out the remaining time.
"Really proud of our football team today for what we did," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "Defensively, I can't say enough about that effort."
New England forced a punt on the opening possession of the game, then chewed up nearly eight minutes of clock on a lengthy drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal from Gostkowski. The Chargers blocked the first attempt and took it 80 yards for a touchdown, but an offside penalty moved the ball up for Gostkowski to boot through the uprights to open the scoring.
San Diego countered with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown march. LaDarius Green picked up 11 yards on 3rd-and-9 from midfield to keep the drive alive and five plays later, Rivers lofted a pass up to the corner of the end zone where Malcolm Floyd made a diving catch for a 15-yard touchdown.
Brandon LaFell made a catch just past midfield on the ensuing Patriots possession, but Jahleel Addae jarred the ball loose and Darrell Stuckey raced into the end zone for a 53-yard return touchdown that made it 14-3 with 11:06 to play in the second.
New England manufactured another long drive deep into San Diego territory that ended with Gostkowski connecting with a 22-yard field goal.
Brandon Bolden blocked Mike Scifres' punt on San Diego's next touch and the Patriots started at the San Diego 25. Brady rushed for four yards on 3rd- and-3, then hooked up with Gronkowski on a back-shoulder throw for a 14-yard score and cut the deficit to 14-13.
Manti Te'o nearly intercepted Brady in the end zone earlier in the game, but made amends for it by picking off an offering late in the first half for his first career interception as the Patriots looked to add on points.
The Chargers did a nice job keeping Brady off the field early in the third, forcing three straight three-and-outs. Devin McCourty intercepted Rivers off a bobbled pass from Green and returned it for a touchdown, but the play was negated as Brandon Browner was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a hard hit to Green.
Akeem Ayers did, however, pick Rivers off later in the drive to keep it a one- point game. Brady and company couldn't do anything, though, as San Diego's defense forced another punt after just three plays.Game Notes
Scifres left the game with a shoulder injury after Bolden blocked his punt.
Kicker Nick Novak filled in for Scifres for the rest of the contest. Novak
averaged 40 yards per punt in his first action at the position since high
school ... Green left the game with a concussion following the hit by Browner
... New England improved to 21-14-2 all-time against San Diego ... Gronkowski
became the first tight end in NFL history to score 10 or more receiving TDs in
4 seasons ... The Patriots held the Chargers to 216 yards of total offense.