The New England Patriots were a very beatable team on Sunday, but you have to not beat yourself.
There was no area more glaring than special teams play. It was horrendous. The Chargers should let some heads roll on the special teams coaching staff. They need to do something because other than Week 7, it has been a disaster every week. Of course, Travis Benjamin highlighted the day with what was the stupidest football play I have seen in a long time. Zero field awareness. Zero field vision. Just a dumb football play. Benjamin is more of a liability in the punt return game than an asset. Add to that a missed field goal, giving up a 72-yard kickoff return and the Chargers inability to take a touchback. Horrible day for special teams again.
Then there is Jahleel Addae. It was obvious that the Patriots chose to go after him early. Why not? He can’t cover or make open field tackles. All of which was on full display Sunday. The clown makes a big celebration after defending Gronk on a pass. Like it was his first time he had ever defended a pass. Then a few plays later, totally whiffs on an open field tackle on third down extending another Patriots drive. He is just a bad safety. I don’t know what else to say.
The general ineptness of the team on Sunday had to be the most disturbing. The Chargers could not convert two 3rd-an- 1 opportunities in the first half. Is it that hard to get one freaking yard? Is it? For the Chargers it must be. I now understand why they attempted a field goal on 4th-and-1 on the first drive, because one yard is too hard to get.
Poor tackling and stupid penalties were on display as well as Phil Rivers dropping the ball and the Chargers utter inability to cover a running back out of the backfield. It was like it was a new play the Chargers had never seen. The Patriots burned the Chargers all day with simple passes to the running backs, often for big gains or to convert third downs.
Tyrell Williams dropped two crucial balls and stepped out of bounds prior to catching a touchdown… sigh.
Then there was the pick play to bring another touchdown back. Like most penalties, this one was totally unnecessary. Benjamin had his guy beat. It was a touchdown. Only thing that could have stopped it was a silly penalty.
These are all signs of a very undisciplined team. The first play of the Chargers’ last drive summed up the day. Benjamin caught a pass and could easily have stepped out of bounds to stop the clock, but he turns it up upfield and infield to make sure he gets tackled in bounds. It was like he had no idea what was going on. 1:08 left with no time outs. Get out of bounds! He basically cost the Chargers two plays at the end of the game. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have three shots at the end zone from the 23-yard line instead of just one desperation play?
I don’t want to give all the credit for the loss to the Chargers as the Patriots did a good job executing their game plan. They neutralized Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram for the most part. They attacked Addae and he was not up to the challenge, missing tackles and giving up completions. And they managed to exploit Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme with simple passes to running backs. They came prepared to play and it showed.
The one bright spot in this game is that with all the Chargers did wrong, they only lost by eight points. This could easily have been a win for them, if they had only been a little more disciplined.