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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Patriots Beat Chargers on Missed Field Goal Thanks to False Start Penalty

Last Sunday, the Patriots overcame a 17-7 deficit in the second half and defeated the Ravens, 23-20, in overtime.  This Sunday, New England nearly blew a 23-3 lead when they let the Chargers crawl within a field goal in the second half, only to lose on a missed 50-yard field goal attempt as time ticked away.

Considering the way the Chargers shot themselves in the foot all afternoon, it’s amazing they even had an opportunity to send the game into overtime.  Some of the lowlights for San Diego included several dropped passes and three fumbles, one of which came when wide receiver Richard Goodman caught a pass over the middle, fell to the ground, and flipped the ball to the ground before any Patriot had touched him.  New England recovered the fumble and it was determined that Goodman was never down by contact.

Despite their countless mistakes, the Chargers somehow clawed their way back into the game with two 11-play touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, one of which came after a perfectly executed onside kick that caught New England completely off guard.

Facing a fourth-and-one situation at the two-minute warning, Bill Belichick gave Patriots fans brutal flashbacks when he decided to go for it at about mid-field up 23-20.  The result was the same as the infamous fourth-and-two decision in Indianapolis last year, as the Chargers stuffed BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a loss.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds remained in regulation that San Diego shot itself in the foot with a 12-gauge shotgun.  After picking up about 20 yards and putting themselves in position for a 45-yard field goal attempt to tie, the Chargers did probably the worst thing they could have done when they lined up for the kick: committed a false start penalty.  Kris Brown promptly banged the 50-yard attempt off the right upright and out and the Chargers went on to lose.  Would he have nailed the 45-yarder?  We’ll never know.

Had the Chargers played more disciplined football, there’s no doubt they’d be 3-4 instead of a dangerous 2-5 at the moment.  Norv Turner has got to get his guys together and find a way to make them use their heads if they want to dig their way out of the hole they’ve created to start the year.



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