Chargers seek revenge and bounce back against Patriots – Orange County Register


INGLEWOOD – Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams didn’t want to talk about it and running back Austin Ekeler preferred to look ahead, not behind.

The Chargers have a rematch on Sunday against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium, but that’s not your typical revenge situation, where a team is looking for revenge due to a playoff loss or someone has. ruined his playoff hopes.

Nothing good happened in the Chargers’ 45-0 loss to the Patriots at SoFi Stadium last year – unless you had 14 tackles from linebacker Kenneth Murray as positives.

The Chargers have hit rock bottom amid a losing season in the embarrassing home shutout, which was the biggest losing margin in franchise history.

“Everything about this game was bad,” Williams said this week. “Everything was bad in this game. We don’t want to talk about it.

Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. didn’t want to hear the “new year, new team” story from his teammates. Harris can’t stand that a team he had many playoff battles against could have decisively beat him without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

“It’s something I really think about,” said Harris, who has known the Patriots well since his nine seasons with the Denver Broncos. “It’s something that I definitely remind them (my teammates). They kicked our ass last year. “Do you all remember that?” ” Everyone knows. They killed us in special teams. They really beat us in all three phases. Everyone knows that, and we are aware of what happened last year. We have to try to stop them because they will try to do the same.

When reporters informed Harris that his offensive teammates Williams and Ekeler were unwilling to discuss last year’s embarrassing loss, Harris replied, “I’m letting them know.”

The Chargers’ terrible special teams drew attention to last year’s debacle as Patriots wide receiver Gunner Olszewski scored on a 70-yard punt return and safety Devin McCourty had a return from 44 yard touchdown on a blocked field goal attempt.

And while Olszewski caught his first and only career touchdown pass from secondary quarterback Jarrett Stidham, Chargers star quarterback Justin Herbert sat on the sidelines with zero points in the fourth quarter.

It was Herbert’s worst performance of his young career, although the Chargers’ Oct. 17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens before the week off wasn’t too far behind. Herbert spent most of his week off watching a movie of the 45-0 game and the 34-6 loss to the Ravens.

“It’s always hard to go back and watch this game,” Herbert said of the study of last year’s Patriots game. “There were a lot of good things to learn. I think we did a good job last year learning lessons and continuing to develop. A lot of mistakes were made and there was a lot that we needed to correct. As hard as it may be to watch, you need to go back and learn from it. ”

The Chargers showed they learned from the loss to the Patriots by ending last season on a four-game winning streak and starting this season 4-2. They’re an improved team, but they find themselves in a similar situation this week, having to bounce back from their ugly performance against the Ravens in Week 6.

Few quarterbacks have played better than Herbert in the nine-game losing streak to the Patriots and Ravens. The Chargers have gone 8-1 in that streak from last year to this season. Herbert pushed the ball down the field and moved the chains in the third downs with direct throws.

But against the Ravens, Herbert struggled with precision and was unable to make plays out of his pocket. Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said Herbert could have played it safe at times to avoid turnovers against the Ravens, but Lombardi expects Herbert to return to his creative ways.

“One thing about him, I really trust his instinct in the pocket, knowing when to escape, when to throw the ball, when to protect him and, maybe, take the bag and avoid turnovers,” said Lombardi on Herbert. “Nothing in there that I criticize him for throwing the ball or grabbing a sack in that (Ravens) game.”

Close end Hunter Henry was instrumental in why Herbert won the title of Offensive Rookie of the Year last year. Henry was on the sidelines with Herbert and the rest of the disappointed Chargers on December 6 when the Patriots walked through SoFi Stadium.

Henry, who played five seasons with the Chargers, is now helping Patriots quarterback Mac Jones find his place in his rookie season. Henry and Jones have connected for a touchdown in four straight games.

“He was the first guy to contact me as soon as I got drafted,” Herbert said of playing with Henry during his rookie year. “We created that link of lifting, throwing and doing all of these things. He helped me a lot on and off the pitch as well. A great mentor, a great friend and one of those guys that I want to stay in touch with throughout his career.

Harris probably doesn’t want to hear about friendships with Patriots players (3-4). He wants his teammates to be mad at what happened last year against a team that has been wearing his number for many years.

The Chargers have a six-game losing streak against the Patriots, including the resounding loss in the 2019 divisional round of the playoffs. The last time the Chargers beat the Patriots was in 2008, when Matt Cassel took over. replaced Brady, injured.

The Chargers have many reasons to be motivated for this game against the Patriots of Bill Belichick, although some ignore the aspect of revenge. After the ugly loss to the Ravens, the Chargers need a rebound game.

“We know what happened last year and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Williams.

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