Patriots crush Chargers in LA, improve to .500 with shutout win

Patriots crush Chargers in LA, improve to .500 with shutout win
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs past Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (Kelvin Kuo/AP)

LOS ANGELES — After playing in five consecutive games decided by seven points or fewer, the New England Patriots earned their most lopsided win of the season Sunday in Los Angeles, blowing out the Chargers, 45-0. The win moved the Patriots (6-6) to .500 for the first time since their Week 2 loss to Seattle.

The New England onslaught was brought about by a pair of special teams touchdowns in the first half, along with two rushing touchdowns by QB Cam Newton, who also threw for a score.

Content Continues Below

Newton (12-for-19, 69 passing YDS, 3 TOT TDs) opened the scoring for New England with a 1-yard touchdown run with just under eight minutes to go in the first quarter. He’d find the end zone again with less than a minute remaining in the opening half, running in a two-yard score to extend the Patriots’ lead to 21.

The former NFL MVP punctuated his day by finding WR N’Keal Harry for a 5-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.

And while New England’s offense dominated that phase of the game, it was the Patriots’ special teams that turned a comfortable lead into a blowout win.

First, WR Gunner Olszewski tore off a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in the opening minute of the second quarter. Olszewski also hauled in a 38-yard touchdown reception from QB Jarrett Stidham in the waning minutes of the contest after Newton had been lifted with the lead safely intact.

Then, with just four seconds remaining in the first half and the Chargers (3-9) trying for a 58-yard field goal, S Cody Davis blocked the Michael Badgley attempt. Devin McCourty scooped up the loose ball, returning it 44 yards into the end zone for the score.

That touchdown return, coupled with Newton’s second touchdown 51 seconds earlier, doubled the Patriots’ lead to 28 points heading into halftime.

Not to be outdone, the New England defense recorded two turnovers on the afternoon, with LB Chase Winovich and CB J.C. Jackson both hauling in interceptions. The defense also sacked LA’s Justin Herbert (26-for-53, 209 YDS, 2 INTs) three times in the win.

The Patriots will remain in Los Angeles this week in preparation for Thursday night’s game against the Rams. A win would give New England a winning record for the first time since Week 3.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW