FOXBOROUGH – Julian Edelman was at his squirreliest during New England’s 41-28 AFC Divisional-round thrashing of the Chargers Sunday afternoon at chilly Gillette Stadium.
Edelman moved into second place all time in postseason receptions with 98. And though it may have seemed as if every one of them came Sunday, he actually just had nine for a game-high 151 yards.
The ultimate slot receiver sits behind only 49ers legend Jerry Rice (151), a player he grew up watching in Northern California.
“That’s pretty cool,” Edelman said. “I grew up in the Bay Area. I grew up close to that family, and he’s the GOAT. Anytime you’re in the same sentence with him, you pinch yourself. It’s pretty cool — but it doesn’t mean anything unless you win, though.’’
Edelman’s 151 yards were his playoff high and matched his regular-season high. It was his fifth career 100-plus yard game in the playoffs, breaking the franchise record he held with Rob Gronkowski.
Only Rice (8) and former Cowboy Michael Irvin (6) have more 100-yard receiving efforts in NFL postseason annals.
White ties record
James White tied an NFL postseason record with his 15-catch performance. Darren Sproles also had 15 catches in a playoff game.
White, who had 14 catches in Super Bowl LI, is the lone NFLer with a pair of 14-plus catch performances in the postseason.
“You’ve got to play your best football at this time of year,’’ White said. “I just try and put my best foot forward, have no regrets, study my opponent as best as possible and just try to put my best performance out there every time I step out there.’’
Brady sets record
Tom Brady was 34 of 44 for 343 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. He has now thrown 228 consecutive postseason passes without an interception, setting an NFL record.
Wise a surprise scratch
Defensive end Deatrich Wise was a surprise scratch from the Patriots lineup, as the second-year player deals with a sprained ankle. He was listed as limited on the injury report during the week.
Wise hadn’t missed a game since being drafted last season out of Arkansas. He was second on the team in sacks (4.5) and quarterback hits (14). Trey Flowers tops both categories with 7.5 and 21, respectively.
Wise’s absence opened the door for the return of Adrian Clayborn, who had been a healthy scratch for the final two games of the season after playing in the first 14. Clayborn entered the game with 2.5 sacks and a dozen quarterback hits.
Also inactive for the Patriots were defensive linemen Keionta Davis and Ufomba Kamalu; defensive backs Obi Melifonwu and Duke Dawson; tight end Stephen Anderson; and offensive lineman James Ferentz.
Ins and outs
For the Chargers, the big news was a pair of players who were active: running back Melvin Gordon and tight end Hunter Henry.
Gordon missed practice time this week as he rested his sore knees, and Henry missed the entire regular season after tearing his ACL in the spring.
He was activated the day after Los Angeles beat Baltimore on wild-card weekend.
Los Angeles inactives included offensive linemen Cole Toner (a Harvard grad who spent a short stint on New England’s practice squad last season) and Forrest Lamp; tight end Sean Culkin; receiver Dylan Cantrell; running back Detrez Newsome; defensive tackle T.Y. McGill; and defensive end Anthony Lanier.
The Chiefs are early 3-point favorites in the AFC Championship game, the first time since Week 2 of the 2015 season that a Brady-led Patriots team is an underdog. The team was an underdog twice during his suspension in 2016 . . . The win was New England’s 16th in the divisional round, tied for most in NFL history . . . The Chiefs had two scouts at the game . . . The Patriots held a moment of silence before the game in honor of Makenna Mebane, the seven-week old daughter of Chargers nose tackle Brandon Mebane. Makenna died Jan. 3 after she was born with a rare genetic condition known as Trisomy 13, which causes delays in development . . . Jon Bon Jovi sat with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and led the crowd in a sing along of “Livin’ On A Prayer” . . . Best sign in the crowd: “Rivers Freeze Here.”