San Diego (EP)
The San Diego Chargers hosted the New England Patriots in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium.
San Diego had a Bye in the first round of the playoffs while New England defeated the Baltimore Ravens to earn a trip to the second round of the playoffs.
The Chargers won the toss but deferred to the Second Half.
Methodically, the Patriots moved the ball on the Charger defense until running back Lawrence Maroney broke into the end zone from 3 yards away to give the visitors the lead. Stephen Gostkowski booted the extra point and New England was ahead right away, 7-0.
San Diego was unable to move the ball very far on their initial drive and when New England had their second possession, they had fine field position. The Charger defense toughened and held the Patriots to a 37-yard field goal attempt. Gostkowski pushed the kick left causing the San Diego home crowd to roar. The score still stood at 7-0 in favor of New England.
The Charger defense again came through on the next Patriot drive when Stephen Cooper recovered a Kevin Faulk fumble gave San Diego prime field position. The First Quarter ended with the score, New England 7 San Diego 0.
Blessed with great field position to begin the Second Quarter, the Chargers quickly evened up the score on a Ladanian Tomlinson 1-yard dive and a Nate Kaeding extra point. The score was now even at 7-7.
San Diego held New England again and once more garnered good field position. Using a ground attack, the Chargers took the lead when Tomlinson scored again, this time from 3 yards out. Kaeding's extra point try was good. The hometown Chargers led, 14-7.
Undaunted, and a bit awoken, the Patriots jetted right down the field on the arm of quarterback Tom Brady. The end of pass-dominated drive ended with a Brady-to-Moss 10-yard touchdown pass to the back of the end zone. New England tied the score on Gostkowski's point after, 14-414.
The final possessions for each team of the Half ended poorly. Patriot Dominic Burgess sacked San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers and Charger Jaques Cesaire pounced on a Maroney fumble. The First Half ended with the score, New England 14 San Diego 14.
San Diego received the Second Half kickoff and blew down the field in a little over three minutes. Rivers connected with wide receiver Kris Wilson on a 27-yard bullet that suddenly put the Chargers back in the lead, 21-14 after a Kaeding extra point.
New England moved the ball a little but failed to score with their first possession of the Half. San Diego had a spark of a drive but was shut down when New England's Paul Oliver recovered Maroney's second fumble of the game.
New England could do nothing with the ball and went three downs and out, before San Diego got the ball in decent field position yet again. This time the Chargers made the field position work for them when Kaeding booted a 49-yard field goal to put San Diego ahead 24-14.
The Patriots returned to their ball-control passing attack and used up what time was left in the Third Quarter before cashing in with a draw play to Faulk who bolted 7 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good. New England had crept closer to San Diego and made the score 24-21.
The Fourth Quarter began with Rivers and the Chargers at their own 20 yard line. Four minutes later they had moved into Patriot territory. New England's defense held, and Kaeding added his second field goal of the game, a 26-yarder, to make the score 27-21 in favor of the Chargers with a little over ten minutes to go in the game.
San Diego forced New England to punt on their next possession and were looking to put the game out of reach or run the clock down. Forced into a long third down, Rivers was sacked for an 8 yard loss by Patriot Jared Mann. The Chargers punted and pinned the Patriots inside their 15 yard line.
Having found the most success with ball-control drives, the Patriots attempted the same kind of possession to work toward the game-winning score. The Charger defense shoved the Patriots into a third down and short near their 30 yard line. New England attempted to cross up the Charger defense with a surprise run for the first down, but they were ready. Patriot running back Faulk would have none of it and not be denied as he muscled his way through a handful of Charger defenders for the first down.
Sensing new life, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took the very next snap and launched a pass to receiver Randy Moss streaking down the near sideline. Moss made an adjustment to grab the ball in the air over a Charger defensive back, then strode away from the trailing safety to reach the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown catch.
Gostkowski's extra point was automatic.
New England had taken a 28-27 lead in the game's final seconds.
A squib kickoff by the Patriots left the Chargers with one last attempt at a play, but Rivers last-gasp pass fell sadly incomplete as time ran out and give the game to New England and leave the Chargers and their fans stunned.
Final Score: New England 28 San Diego 27
2009 NFL Playoff Replay
Played using Downey Games' Momentum Football.
What This Is
A play through of the 2009 NFL playoffs. Write-ups are all original content.