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Mitch's Sports: Patriots Halt Chargers, Head To KC Next; UVM Wins St. Lawrence Ski Carnival

The New England Patriots romped all over the L.A. Chargers 41-28 at Foxboro yesterday, led by Sony Michel's 129 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. 

Tom Brady found Philip Dorset in the end zone for a touchdown pass and finished with 343 yards on the day. The Patriots defense made life miserable for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who was constantly hounded, had to hurry many of his throws, and was sacked twice. He's now 0-5 in  career playoff games at Foxboro, and the three touchdowns he did throw all came in the second half when the game was already well out of reach.

All well and good for New England but I'd like their chances in the AFC championship game against the high-powered offense of the Kansas City Chiefs much better if next weekend's game was being played again at Foxboro. The Pats beat the Chiefs at home earlier this year in a wild 43-40 victory that revealed just how dangerous Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes can be.

Of course, Tom Brady is pretty good, too, but that horrific loss in Miami earlier this season, when the Pats gave up a 70-yard touchdown on the last play of the game, a lateral desperation sandlot backyard kind of play run by Miami that ended up with the Dolphins celebrating in the end zone in front of a stunned Patriots defense may be the game that ultimately keeps the Pats from returning to the super-bowl.

Had the Pats made the one tackle they needed on that last play and won that game they would have finished with the AFC's number one seed instead of number two and would be hosting the championship game instead of having to face the Chiefs in front of an enormous and vociferous crowd at Arrowhead Stadium in KC.

I just can't see the Chiefs losing that game at home next week, and the guess here is that they'll win by at least ten points. I do hope I'm wrong.

The Philadelphia Eagles will not be the first team since the Patriots to win back to back super bowls. The Iggles got off to a great start in New Orleans yesterday, jumping out to a 14-0 lead against the Saints before Drew Brees and company hit their stride and came back in the second half for a 20-14 win.

Brees completed long scoring drives of 92, 79, and 67 yards and Marcus Lattimore was the hero on defense, intercepting two passes by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. The second was the biggest, picking off a ball that deflected off the hands of receiver Ashlon Jeffrey with two minutes left, sealing the win for the Saints, who return to the NFC championship game for the first time since 2009 when they won their first and to date only super bowl. They'll be hosting the L.A. Rams at the Superdome and I think they'll be super-bowl bound after that game.
 
The University of Vermont took first place at the St. Lawrence Carnival ski competition held in Lake Placid over the weekend.

Ben Ogden and Lina Sutro won the men's and women's 10k Classic respectively to lead the Catamounts their first Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association win of the season. UVM took four of the six podium spots, coming from behind beat rival Dartmouth, the Big Green finishing in second place, 30 points behind UVM.

Sutro won her race two seconds ahead of Middlebury's Annika Landis, and UVM's Anna Bizyukova, who finished seventh, summed up the weekend when she said "all of these American athletes are heroes." Bizyukova is from Russia and was referring to the freezing temperatures that greeted the racers, and Bizyukova knows a thing or two about freezing temperatures, having trained in Siberia before coming over to the slightly more forgiving climate of Vermont.

St. Michael's Nordic team also competed at the carnival, finishing eighth out of seventeen schools.

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