Patriots

AFC: Chargers send Broncos to first shutout loss in 25 years, 21-0

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AFC: Chargers send Broncos to first shutout loss in 25 years, 21-0

CARSON, Calif. - Travis Benjamin returned a first-quarter punt 65 yards for a touchdown and caught a 42-yard TD pass in the fourth, and the Los Angeles Chargers played a dominant defensive game in the first home victory of their relocation season, 21-0 over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Joey Bosa had two of the Chargers' five sacks while they sent the Broncos (3-3) to the franchise's first shutout defeat since a 24-0 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders on Nov. 22, 1992.

Philip Rivers passed for 183 yards in his 100th victory, hitting Austin Ekeler for an early TD and Benjamin for the late clincher.

The Chargers (3-4) have won three straight under new coach Anthony Lynn following a winless opening month in their first season back in Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego.

Trevor Siemian passed for 207 yards, but Denver lost to the Chargers for just the third time in the AFC West rivals' past 14 meetings - and did so in historic fashion.

The Broncos, who have never been shut out at home, might have been able to preserve their non-shutout streak with long field goals in the fourth quarter. But coach Vance Joseph went for it twice on fourth down and ended up with an interception and a turnover on downs.

The Chargers had lost seven consecutive home games since last November, and they hadn't won a home game as the LA Chargers since Dec. 18, 1960.

But the Bolts largely dominated the Broncos, who have lost three of four with a flagging offense that has managed three touchdowns in four games. Los Angeles also avenged its season-opening loss in Denver on a blocked field goal at the end.

The Chargers forced a turnover on Denver's opening drive and advanced to the Broncos 1, but failed to punch it in on four straight running plays. Undeterred, the Los Angeles defense got a stop - and Benjamin allowed one big bounce before scampering down the middle for the Chargers' first punt return for a TD since 2012.

That was only the Chargers' second touchdown of the season in a first quarter, where they had been outscored 50-7.

Neither offense accomplished much in the first half, but Ekeler caught a 1-yard swing pass from Rivers for a TD in the second quarter, capping a 65-yard drive and staking Los Angeles to 14-0 halftime lead.

That was the Chargers' biggest lead in their past 14 games, but they missed plenty of opportunities to make it bigger. Along with that game-opening failure at the 1, Jahleel Addae and Jatavis Brown both dropped easily catchable interceptions on passes from Siemian, who was under constant pressure from the Chargers' pass-rushing duo, Melvin Ingram and Bosa.

Benjamin got open across the middle late in the fourth quarter and took off for his second touchdown catch with the Chargers.

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BEST OF BST PODCAST: Patriots advance to AFC title game vs. Jaguars

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BEST OF BST PODCAST: Patriots advance to AFC title game vs. Jaguars

0:41 - Tom Curran and Albert Breer discuss some of the big takeaways from the Patriots win over the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

4:49 - Jalen Ramsey told the fans in Jacksonville that the Jaguars would be going to the Super Bowl. Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith talk about if they have a problem with what Ramsey said and if the Patriots would be using his quote as bulletin board material.

9:25 - Curran, Breer, and Giles discuss Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels likely not returning with the Patriots as Patricia seems to be headed towards the Lions while McDaniels goes to the Colts.

14:06 - Michael Hurley joins BST to preview the Jaguars/Patriots matchup and discuss the Patriots schedule and road to the Super Bowl. 

Patriots react to Ramsey's guarantee: He should be confident

Patriots react to Ramsey's guarantee: He should be confident

FOXBORO -- Patriots players didn't seem all that bothered by Jalen Ramsey's proclamation that the Jaguars would win the AFC title game and head to Minnesota for the Super Bowl. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's win in Pittsburgh. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that (expletive). We're going to win that (expletive)."

Asked about those comments on Monday, Patriots captain Matthew Slater showed no hint of disapproval. 

"Man, that guy’s really good," Slater said. "And he should be confident, because he’s very, very good. The good Lord made that guy, and he said, ‘Let there be corner.’ And there he is. I’d be confident if I were him, as well."

Ramsey was named a First-Team All-Pro for his work on the outside opposite Second-Team All-Pro corner AJ Bouye. They make up arguably the best cornerback duo in football, and Ramsey has already established himself as one of the best at his position despite being just 23 years old and in his second pro season.

"Hey, man, Jalen Ramsey’s a good player," Patriots captain Duron Harmon said. "He talks a lot of trash. That’s part of his game, and you can’t take that away from him. He’s confident. He should be confident in his team. He has a really good football team. The top two AFC teams are left, and he’s a part of one of them.

"His approach to the game is different than ours, but we can’t knock him for it. We know they’re going to come ready to play, and we’ve just got to match their type of physicality and also just their emotion and their readiness to get ready to play."

Ramsey's best work as a trash-talker came eariler this season after he shut down Bengals wideout AJ Green. What he said about the AFC Championship was certainly a step (or several) below that in terms of its intensity, and judging by their reaction Monday, it seems to be a mere blip on the Patriots' radar.

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