The New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers congregated today at Gillette Stadium for a friendly game (broadcast on CBS) of Let’s See Who Gets to Go to the Super Bowl.
The game-play in the first quarter was mostly uneventful until the bottom of the quarter when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s pass meant for wide receiver Dante Stallworth was picked off by Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer. That turnover would’ve resulted in a touchdown for San Diego, but wide receiver Chris Chambers caught Philip Rivers’s pass outside of out bounds in the rear of the end zone. The Chargers ended with a field goal instead, leading 3 to 0.
The top of the second quarter brought the Patriots into the lead with a touchdown by running back Laurence Maroney. The Chargers increased their points to six with another field goal. New England 7 and San Diego 6. Nearing the bottom of the second quarter, Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted Rivers pass intended for Chambers. Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney made a TD quickly after the turnover. New England 14 and San Diego 6. Rivers was intercepted again, this time by cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who then dropped the ball but safety James Sanders recovered it for the Patriots. The Chargers narrowed the score gap with a field goal in the very bottom of the second quarter. Going into halftime, New England 14 and San Diego 9.
The third quarter opened with Tom Brady getting sacked by Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman. On the next play, Brady’s throw was intercepted by San Diego cornerback Drayton Florence. The Chargers collected another field goal. As the bottom of the third quarter drew closer, Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie intercepted Brady’s pass-to-the-end-zone.
The fourth quarter started with a touchdown by Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. New England 21 and San Diego 12. Final score. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. The pre-game music montage was comprised of orchestral accompaniment to some song called “Unstoppable.” I didn’t catch by whom.
2. Jeff Triplette was the referee today.
3. Laurence Maroney’s TD in the top of the second quarter was quite characteristic of the Patriots scoring pattern from the 2007 season. If they don’t put on the ritz in the first quarter, they’ll do it in the second (and usually quite early).
4. Although San Diego’s points all came from field goals, their defense was able to keep New England down to fourteen points through the end of the third quarter. The 2007 norm was that by the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Patriots would have scored at least four touchdowns.
5. Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was in the game for only three plays.
Get game summary, stats, and play by play here.