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Julian Edelman breaks out in fourth quarter for Patriots

Julian Edelman

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman runs for a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during the second half in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)


Such was the defensive nature of last night’s Patriots-Chargers game that it took a routine-looking play to turn into a game-changer.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman’s 69-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter lifted the Patriots to a 23-14 win over the Chargers.

You’ve got to give him huge props on that catch-and-run,’' tight end Rob Gronkowski said, via Sean McAdam of “He was due to break one out and it was awesome to see it.’'

It was just the third score of the season for Edelman, which had him in deferential Patriot mode afterward.

“Tom [Brady] put us in a play,’' Edelman said. “The offensive line held up the play and Tommy put a good ball up there and I did my job to get open, try to catch the ball and do something with it and we were able to make a play. . . .

“It was nice. Anytime you get in the end zone, help the team win...that’s my job. As long as you’re winning, that’s all that matters.’'

The Patriots have shown the ability to run in previous weeks, and the play of Gronkowski is a given. If Edelman can continue to play a role in the next month and the playoffs, it makes them that much more dangerous on offense.