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Final: Patriots 35, Chargers 21

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  September 18, 2011 06:20 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Tom Brady followed up his stellar 500-yard outing in the season opener, with a 423-yard outing as the Patriots beat the Chargers 35-21 in their home opener.

Brady was 31 of 40 for 423 yards and three touchdowns. He's the first quarterback in NFL history to followup a 500-yard outing (517 yards against the Miami Dolphins) with a 400-yard outing.

1:02 4th quarter: Patriots 35, Chargers 21 -- The Patriots Mark Anderson gets a strip-sack with a little over a minute remaining. Kyle Love recovers the fumble.

1:54 4th quarter: Patriots 35, Chargers 21 -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis wants to get in on the action. He broke loose for a 16-yard touchdown with less than two minutes remaining as the Patriots put their lead back to 14 points.

The Patriots drive was nine plays, 80 yards in 3:46.

2:00 4th quarter: Patriots 28, Chargers 21 -- It's official. Tom Brady is the first quarterback in NFL history to follow a 500-yard game with a 400-yard outing.

5:40 4th quarter: Patriots 28, Chargers 21 -- Phillip Rivers hit Vincent Jackson for a 26-yard TD. It was Jackson's 10th reception of the game, a career high. He also sports 172 receiving yards on the day now and two scores.

The Chargers drove 80 yards in eight plays in only three minutes.

7:31 4th quarter: Patriots 28, Chargers 14 -- Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez has a knee injury and his return is probable.

8:40 4th quarter: Patriots 28, Chargers 14 -- Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 17-yard touchdown strike and Danny Woodhead punched in a two-point conversion run as the Patriots extended their lead to 14 points.

It was a quick drive for the Patriots. In only four plays, the team marched 61 yards in 1:41, spurred by the Chargers' turnover.

Deion Branch caught a couple of passes on the drive. He now has eight catches for 129 yards in the game.

9:47 4th quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 14 -- The Chargers' Mike Tolbert fumbled and the Patriots Rob Ninkovich recovered to give the Patriots the ball again. Jerod May was credited with the forced fumble.

11:41 4th quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 14 -- Tom Brady passed the 300-yard mark with a 14-yard completion to Aaron Hernandez. Of the 11 quarterbacks to throw for 500 yards in a game, he's the second to throw for 300 in the next. Drew Brees is the other.

Also, Patrick Chung returns to the game with a cast on his right hand. And Zoltan Mesko's return to the game is labeled probable.

13:33 4th quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 14 -- The Chargers' Phillip Rivers connected with Vincent Jackson for a 3-yard TD pass, capping a 10-play, 64-yard drive.

Jackson has seven catches for 114 yards on the day.

2:57 3d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- Patriots safety Patrick Chung has a hand injury. His return is questionable.

1:06 3d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- Albert Haynesworth and James Ihedigbo have both gotten hurt in the last few plays. Haynesworth looked like he just needed to be stretched out. No word on Ihedigbo.

3:36 3d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- Punter Zoltan Mesko was injured on the field after a 54-yard punt.

He came on the field after a Patriots three-and-out, their first of the game.

4:35 3d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- Patriots safety Sergio Brown intercepted a Phillip Rivers pass after the Chargers QB was pressured by Andre Carter and Shaun Ellis Brandon Spikes on the play. The interception killed the Chargers' 13-play drive the eating up the clock.

It was Brown's first career interception.

11:20 3d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- Zoltan Mesko punted for the first time today. He had being pleasantly neglected on the Patriots' bench. His punt of 31 yards ended a 7-play drive by the Patriots that stalled after a false start penalty on Dan Gronkowski and a Tom Brady incompletion.

The Chargers are pinned at their own 6-yard line.

13:39 3d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- An update on Ras-I Dowling. He has a thigh injury and his return is questionable.

Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd has a groin injury and his return is also questionable.

End of the half: Some stats to think about before the third quarter starts.

Tom Brady is 20 of 23 for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Deion Branch has six catches for 85 yards while newbie Chad Ochocinco has two catches on two targets for 45 yards.

On the other end, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson has four catches for 92 yards while Malcom Floyd has two catches for 59 yards.

We saw a few Patriots milestones in the first half: Vince Wilfork's first career interception; Tom Brady passed Jim Kelly for 17th all-time in passing; and Wes Welker has now caught a pass in 63 consecutive regular season games, tying a team record with former tight end Ben Coates.

End of the 2d quarter: Patriots 20, Chargers 7 -- After two quick passes by Tom Brady to Deion Branch, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 47-yard field goal right down the pipes as the Patriots took a 13-point lead. Vince Wilfork's 28-yard interception return keyed the quick scoring drive, which lasted all of 9 seconds.

0:09 2d quarter: Patriots 17, Chargers 7 -- Vince Wilfork tipped a Phillips Rivers pass to himself and rumbled for 28 yards on the return to kills the Chargers drive. It was Wilfork's first career interception.

He took the ball with him to the sideline.

1:42 2d quarter: Patriots 17, Chargers 7 -- CB Ras-I Dowling was injured on the last play. No word on what the problem is.

2:49 2d quarter: Patriots 17, Chargers 7 -- Tom Brady found tight end Rob Gronkowski for his second touchdown pass of the day, this time a 10-yarder over the middle. It capped a 10-play, 99-yard drive for 5:25.

Just a play prior, Brady completed a 19-yard pass to Deion Branch that gave him 35,473 yards passing in his career, good for 16th on the NFL's all-time passing list. He passed Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly (35,467).

9:01 2d quarter: Patriots 10, Chargers 7 -- Jerod Mayo came up with a huge tackle, taking down Mike Tolbert at the 1-yard line on fourth down. Definitely a plus for the defense, which stuffed the Chargers on four straight plays after giving up two big ones to get San Diego into the red zone.

13:20 2d quarter: Patriots 10, Chargers 7 -- Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 22-yard field goal as the Patriots took the lead in the second quarter. It was a disappointing end to the drive despite the field goal. The Patriots had been on the 4-yard line and couldn't punch the ball into the end zone. Tom Brady sailed a pass to Aaron Hernandez, followed by a rush for no gain by Danny Woodhead and then another incomplete pass, this time over the head of Deion Branch.

The Patriots' drive was 14 plays, 59 yards in 4:35.


End of the 1st quarter: Patriots 7, Chargers 7 -- At the end of the first, the Patriots are driving toward the end zone. The Chargers' Shaun Phillips went down with what looked like a leg injury on the field, slowing the Patriots' no-huddle offense. The quickened pass has benefited Brady and company, pushing down to the Chargers' 23-yard line in less than three minutes.

2:55 1st quarter: Patriots 7, Chargers 7 -- The Chargers' Ryan Matthews burst through a gap on the left side for a 10-yard touchdown to cap a 7-play, 80 yard drive by San Diego.

The score was keyed by two Philip Rivers passes to Malcom Floyd, who came down with a 23-yard reception in traffic and then later a 36-yarder over Patriots CB Devin McCourty. One play later, Matthews rushed it in for the score.

6:16 1st quarter: Patriots 7, Chargers 0 -- Tom Brady connected with tight end Aaron Hernandez for a 14-yard touchdown. Hernandez leaped over the Chargers' Bob Sanders for the grab.

The Patriots had drove 92 yards in 12 plays in 5:47. On the drive, Wes Welker caught his 63 straight pass in a regular season game, tying a team record with Ben Coates.

Also, Chad Ochocinco made a nice catch on a slant route. He beat the Chargers' Antoine Cason for a 15-yard gain. Cason was also called for pass interference, but the penalty was declined. One play later, Brady hit Hernandez in the end zone.

12:11 1st quarter -- The Chargers first drive stalled after a miscommunication between quarterback Phillip Rivers and receiver Vincent Jackson. Just a few plays prior the two had hooked up for a 29-yard completion. The drive was 7 plays, highlighted by Rivers' connection with Jackson.

15:00 1st quarter -- The San Diego Chargers won the toss and will receive. Game on.

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Enjoy.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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