Something strange happened in the middle of the second quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Patriots and Chargers:
Las Vegas sports books posted odds on the AFC Championship game. They had the Chiefs as three-point favorites in Kansas City against the Patriots. It is certainly not normal for a betting line to be out when a playoff game is still in the second quarter.
But when you consider the Patriots had a 28-7 lead at the time, it was a pretty safe bet. The Pats finished with a 41-28 win that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicated.
New England scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and running back Sony Michel ran for three scores in the first half to put the Pats on top 35-7 at the break and make the second half one long procession to the Chargers’ ouster from the post-season.
The only Chargers touchdown of the first half came on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen that tied the game 7-7. After that, the Pats scored 31 straight points.
The Chargers didn’t get back on the board until the end of the 3rd quarter when Melvin Gordon scored on a 1-yard TD run.
The Patriots were able to completely control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Tom Brady was rarely pressured and when he has time to throw he’s impossible to stop.
Brady threw for 343 yards and was never sacked. Running back James White caught 15 passes, tying the NFL record for receptions in a playoff game.
Meanwhile, Philip Rivers was hit or pressured on nearly every dropback and Gordon couldn’t find many holes to run through.
In the fourth quarter, already down 41-14, Rivers was able to throw a pair of TD passes to his tight ends the first one went to Virgil Green. The last one was, fittingly, to Antonio Gates.
This was very likely the final game of his career so the clock can probably officially start on his Hall of Fame countdown.