10. 2006 Divisional Round at San Diego Chargers
Vegas Line: Chargers -5.0
The 2006 Patriots had their work cut out for them in the Divisional Round, as they had to go on the road to face the team with the best record in the NFL (14-2). The match-up featured the San Diego Chargers’ top ranked offense, led by Phillip Rivers and 2006 league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, going toe-to-toe with the Patriot’s second-ranked defense, anchored by the likes of Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour.
Tom Brady wasn’t particularly great in this game, but he did put together well-executed drives when he needed to, including one in the waning moments of the first half to bring the Patriots within a score.
The Chargers led 14-10 at halftime.
Trailing 21-13 midway through the fourth quarter, the Patriots elected to go for it on 4th and 5. Brady was picked off for the third time in the game, but as wide receiver Troy Brown went in to make a tackle on the intercepting player, he punched the ball out, and the Patriots somehow recovered to keep the drive alive.
Five plays later, New England scored a touchdown to make it 21-19. Belichick elected to go two, which they converted on a direct snap to Kevin Faulk – a play that Patriots fans had grown accustomed to seeing over the years. The result? Tie game with 4:36 to play.
Not long after, the Patriots stormed ahead to take the lead, 24-21, and with eight seconds to go, Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding missed a 54 yard field goal that sent the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game.