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Chargers' offense is all wet, but defense shuts out Patriots in first must-win game

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — First he was booming. Then he was beaming.

That was the glorious Sunday of Chargers punter JK Scott.

Eight punts — one with surgical precision — and zero return yards by the New England Patriots.

“That was fun,” said the 6-foot-5 Scott, standing in the middle of a raucous locker room with an irrepressible smile. “The last two years especially, my one goal with playing football was just to have fun.”

In the lowest-scoring NFL game of the season, the Chargers held on for a 6-0 victory on a soaked-to-the-skin afternoon when highlights were as sparse as the Gillette Stadium stands.

The once-mighty Patriots have lost five games in a row, the last three despite limiting opponents to 10 points or fewer — a first for a team in the Super Bowl era.

 

Two 38-yard field goals by Cameron Dicker proved sufficient for the Chargers, who halted their three-game losing slide and headed home without surrendering a turnover or sack.

“There weren’t going to be any style points today,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be a high-scoring affair. So I think what our guys did is they really locked in and focused on what the game was going to be, and they took that mindset all the way until the last play.”

Staley was referring to a 23-yard completion from Justin Herbert to Alex Erickson, just promoted from the practice squad. That converted a third down and allowed the visitors to run out the clock with two kneel-downs.

Six points is a tenuous lead in the NFL, and at any moment the Patriots could have claimed the lead with a big play. Then again, it’s the Patriots, who have taken a colossal tumble since the heady days of Tom Brady and annual Super Bowl appearances.

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