Rivers can hold his head high

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

FOXBOROUGH Mass. -- With one knee in a brace and another pulsing in pain, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers almost did the impossible yesterday.

Instead of engineering an epic upset though, he joined the ranks of the 17 other teams that have tried in vain to defeat the New England Patriots this season.

And following yesterday's 21-12 loss in the AFC Championship, Rivers, doesn't hold much hope for the next Patriots opponent on their way to an historic, undefeated season.

HARD LOSS

"Probably not real good," Rivers said when asked if the Patriots can be stopped now. "In playoff games, it's not always about looking pretty. It's about finding the way to win and that's why they are playing in the big one again."

Though the Chargers opened the scoring and were within two points through three quarters, their inability to convert any of their four trips inside the Patriots red zone proved to be their undoing.

"They're a great football team and they've one every one of their games," said Turner, whose Chargers knocked off the Super Bowl champion Colts to make it to the conference final.

"What can you say about that? They're a complete team."

The Chargers learned that the hard way through the hard-nosed yards gained by running back Laurence Maroney, who took control of the game in the second half.

The Patriots turned to Maroney, who had a one-yard touchdown run, after the team's vaunted passing attack came up flat.

"We just kept pounding them and pounding them," said Maroney.

"Eventually those two-yard runs started breaking into eight and 10-yard runs."

Eventually it broke the will of the Chargers defence as well, a unit that forced three Patriots turnovers earlier in the game.


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