3:00 PM ET, January 20, 2008
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- "Now we can look ahead.''Bill Belichick, a coach of few words, said it all with that sentence after his New England Patriots claimed the AFC championship trophy. Looking ahead means only one thing: A trip to the Super Bowl, and a chance to give their perfect record a whole new meaning. Despite a shaky Tom Brady, the Patriots were still too much for the banged-up San Diego Chargers, pulling out a 21-12 victory Sunday that sent them back to the NFL title game for the fourth time in seven seasons.
Tom Brady became the fastest NFL quarterback Sunday to 100 wins, getting there in 16 fewer starts than Joe Montana and 29 fewer than Brett Favre:
The Patriots became the first NFL team Sunday to go 18-0 but still must win the Super Bowl to set the mark for most victories in a season.
This marked the first time in more than 100 years that a team in the four major pro sports opened a season with 18 straight victories. The record for wins to start a season was set in 1884 by St. Louis in baseball's Union Association, the Elias Sports Bureau said. ... Brady threw a TD pass in his 14th straight postseason game. ... Maroney has scored a touchdown in five straight games. ... The Chargers beat the Boston Patriots 51-10 for the 1963 AFL championship at old Balboa Stadium. The Patriots played that season at Fenway Park.
Despite the unforeseen interceptions by Tom Brady, New England is going to the Super Bowl. The respective play of each red zone offense told the story in this game; the Patriots scored touchdowns, while the Chargers kicked field goals near the goal line. As usual, the Patriots' offense made the Chargers defend a wide variety of different plays out of multiple formations and personnel groupings. This is a versatile and intelligent group that is extremely difficult to prepare for. As the game went on, the Patriots utilized multiple tight end sets and battered the Chargers with Laurence Maroney, who had just 16 of his 122 dominating yards in the first half. The excellent play of role players such as Kyle Brady and Kevin Faulk was an integral part of this victory. Although Tom Brady didn't play his "A" game, his teammates picked him up. This is what makes the Patriots truly great.
-- Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc.
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.2||5.3|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-3||3-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||2:59||Nate Kaeding 26 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 7 plays, 32 yds, 2:12
|TD||13:53||Laurence Maroney, 1 yd run (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 65 yds, 4:07
|FG||9:16||Nate Kaeding 23 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yds, 4:34
|TD||3:57||Jabar Gaffney, 12 yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 24 yds, 0:45
|FG||0:12||Nate Kaeding 40 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 6 plays, 43 yds, 1:38
|FG||8:40||Nate Kaeding 24 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 8 plays, 43 yds, 3:56
|TD||12:21||Wes Welker, 6 yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yds, 4:17