Patriots advance to certain doom with playoff win over Chargers

Published: 1/13/2019 7:24:56 PM
Modified: 1/13/2019 7:19:33 PM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots handily beat the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Gillette Stadium to set up an inevitable and embarrassing end to their season next weekend against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
The win puts the Patriots in their eighth consecutive AFC Championship game, an accomplishment that will help them feel good after they are annihilated next weekend by the Chiefs and their stellar young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
“I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, can’t win any games,” Brady told CBS, basically admitting that it’s true. “So we’ll see. It'll be fun.”
The rationale for New England’s imminent destruction is clear as the Chiefs (12-4) won more games than any team in the AFC this season, except for the Chargers (12-4), a team the Patriots outscored 35-7 in the first half of Sunday’s game. Furthermore, the Patriots lost five games to non-playoff teams this season, and the Chiefs didn’t lose a single game to a non-playoff team. In fact, the Chiefs racked up 10 of their 12 wins against teams that did not qualify for the postseason. The Patriots, on the other hand, only had seven such victories.
Furthermore, the Patriots have not won an AFC Championship on the road since 2004, when they beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Since then, the Patriots have been repeatedly turned away in AFC Championship games in other cities, a ritual that seemingly occurred every year from 2013 through 2015 if you omit 2014.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty said the team has heard the criticism and did not deny its validity.
“We see it,” McCourty said. “We see our quarterback’s too old, we’re not good enough on defense, the skill players aren’t good. We see it, but it doesn’t affect how we prepare. We love practicing and we love playing with each other, preparing. We’re going to take advantage of that and come out ready to go no matter what.”
Among the many signs of Dynasty Decay evident on Sunday was New England’s reliance on Rookie Draft Bust Sony Michel, the brittle butter fingers who once got hurt and fumbled on the same play, but hasn’t done either since. In a vain effort to validate his selection at the end of the first round, the Pats force fed Michel with a whopping 16 carries in the first half for 105 yards and three touchdowns, proving that the team is no longer confident in ancient yoga student Tom Brady.
Just a season ago, Brady threw for 505 yards in a Super Bowl, but on Sunday, he could muster only 343 yards and one touchdown, completing 77.2 percent of his throws, many of them dinks to running back James White. If it’s possible to dig one’s own grave with a shovel pass, Brady is well on his way, as he threw one of them to White in this game.
White had to set the record for postseason catches in a game (15) in order to pad Brady’s completion percentage. When Brady wasn’t throwing dinks to White, he was chucking dunks to Julian Edelman, who finished with nine catches for 151 shameful yards.
Nonetheless, Patriots fans must stop and enjoy this moment, because the Patriots are incapable of winning at Arrowhead. The presumptive loss will be so embarrassing that Rob Gronkowski is reportedly set to ponder retirement when it ends. Long-term, beloved almost defensive coordinator Brian Flores is about to bolt for Miami, Bill Belichick still dreams wistfully of swamp areas in Northern New Jersey and Brady continues his short, well-hydrated march to mortality.
The band is breaking up and all fans can think of is that 41-14 loss at Arrowhead in September of 2014. And that 42-27 loss to the Chiefs at home last season. And the last time the Chiefs played the Patriots? What happened then? As of press time, no one seemed to know or they were too scared to answer.
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.

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