New England Patriots

Patriots Back to .500 With Comeback Win Over Chargers

Mac Jones completed 19 of 36 passes for 226 yards in the win

Call it the Adrian Phillips revenge game.

The special teams standout shined on defense against his former team, including a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Patriots that gave the team a lead it wouldn't relinquish in a 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

With the win, the Patriots have their first winning streak of the season and are back to .500 at 4-4.

“A really good win for our team today," Bill Belichick said. "The Chargers are a good football team. Coming here and getting the win is a great feeling."

The Patriots are now 3-0 away from Gillette Stadium in 2021 after dealing the Chargers (4-3) their second straight defeat.

Mac Jones completed 18 of 35 passes for 217 yards in the win, throwing no touchdowns but interceptions, either.

New England fell behind 7-0 and later 14-7, a Damien Harris 1-yard run accounting for the only touchdown the team would score in the first half. A pair of Nick Folk field goals (24, 48 yards) cut the deficit to 14-13 at the break.

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The Patriots would take their first lead of the game, 17-16, on another 48-yard field goal from Folk with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter before the Chargers went back ahead on a 48-yard field goal of their own from Dustin Hopkins.

But Phillips turned the tide in New England's favor for good with his pick-six, which came with 10:11 left, and went up by 10 points on Folk's final kick of the night from 30 yards out.

The Chargers tacked on a touchdown in the final minute to get back within a field goal, but their ensuing on-sides kick attempt was recovered by none other than former Charger Hunter Henry, who was playing his first game against his former team.

It was the seventh straight win for the Patriots against the Chargers and 20th in their last 23 meetings, a stretch which dates back to the 1973 season.

Phillips had two interceptions in the game in all, the first multi-pick game of his career and giving him a career-best three interceptions in 2021.

“He does a good job of seeing the routes, seeing the quarterback, having vision on the ball," Belichick said. "Just good awareness."

In addition to sealing the deal by recovering the on-sides kick, Henry had one catch for 33 yards in his first game back in Los Angeles since leaving the Chargers as a free agent. Henry was originally drafted by the then-San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

It was Henry's first game without a touchdown catch since Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints.

For Jones, it was his first game without a touchdown pass since Week 2 against the New York Jets. However, it was his second straight game without an interception, matching the longest streak of his young career -- he didn't throw a pick in Weeks 1 or 2, either.

“I definitely didn't have my best day at all," Jones said. "I think everyone around me had a great day, that's what football is all about."

The Patriots are on the road again next week against Stephon Gilmore and the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. in Charlotte.

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