FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady passed for 333 yards and a touchdown, Stephen Gostkowski added four field goals and the New England Patriots held on to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 21-13 on Sunday.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Patriots (6-2). The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Chargers.
Los Angeles (3-5) got on the board first when Melvin Gordon found a seam on the outside and rumbled down the sideline for an 87-yard touchdown run . But the rest of the game was marked by Los Angeles’ mistakes and inability to move the ball offensively.
New England got its lone touchdown via a 2-yard toss from Brady to Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter. The Patriots went 1 for 4 in the red zone, but were able to cobble together the Gostkowki field goals and a safety.
The Chargers cut the Patriots’ lead to 18-13 with 8:30 to play following a 24-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin and failed 2-point conversion pass. They got the ball back a final time after New England added Gostkowski’s fourth field goal. But Rivers’ pass with 1 second remaining was intercepted at the goal line by Jonathan Jones.
Rivers finished 17 of 30 for 212 yards.
Los Angeles’ mistakes were highlighted in a wild way in the second quarter when Benjamin muffed a punt inside the Chargers 15, recovered it and retreated all the way to own goal line while trying to reverse field. He was wrapped up there by New England’s Brandon King and tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Rivers had a similarly head-scratching play early in the third quarter when he rolled to the outside to escape the pass rush, but had the ball slip out of his hands for a fumble. He recovered, but the play resulted in a 20-yard loss and a sack credited to Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Other than Gordon’s touchdown run, the Chargers were mostly ineffective offensively in the opening 30 minutes. They ran only 19 total plays. By comparison, New England passed the ball 26 times in the first two quarters.
Chargers: LB Hayes Pullard left the field after a collision late in the fourth quarter.
Patriots: RT Marcus Cannon left in the first half with an ankle injury. ... WR Chris Hogan left with a shoulder injury from the same collision with Pullard.
Gordon’s 87-yard touchdown matched the longest run in Chargers history. Paul Lowe also had an 87-yard run against the Dallas Texans in 1961.
Rob Gronkowski’s first-quarter touchdown catch from Brady marked the 72nd time the two of them have connected for a score. It is the most TDs among any NFL duo since Gronkowski entered the league in 2010.
Chargers: Bye week, at Jaguars on Nov. 12.
Patriots: Bye week, at Broncos on Nov. 12.