Sunday night wasn’t pretty by any means, but games in December and January usually aren’t. Both the Patriots and Chargers needed the victory but each had their own reasons. The Patriots needed the win to keep pace in the AFC and hold onto the number one seed. The Chargers, on the other hand, needed the win to keep their playoff hopes alive against the competitive AFC field. With the offense not exactly looking sharp, the defense rose to the occasion on the road. Strong play all around defensively kept the Patriots in it long enough for Tom Brady and the offense to finally put it together. The end result was a bounce back win on the road, against a tough, playoff-caliber team.
- “Next man up,” has always been the Patriots philosophy, but no more so than the last two seasons. We all remember how decimated the team was with injuries last season, only to still make it to the AFC championship game. This year, they again lost Jerod Mayo for the season, and Sunday night saw Dont’a Hightower on the inactive list. Hightower had stepped up in a major way becoming the signal caller on the defense in Mayo’s absence. He along side Jamie Collins had successfully held down the linebacker positions. Without Hightower, a drop off in production could have been expected. Instead Jamie Collins played his best game as a pro. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 14: Patriots Grind Out a Tough 23-14 Win Over Chargers »