NFL·Recap

Patriots dispatch Chargers to reach 8th straight AFC title game

Sony Michel ran for 129 yards and had three touchdowns and the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 in the divisional playoffs on Sunday to earn their eighth straight trip to AFC championship game.

New England travels to Kansas City with Super Bowl berth at stake

Patriots running back Sony Michel, right, ran roughshod over the Chargers on Sunday, scoring three touchdowns in New England's win. (Steven Senne/Associated Press)

Sony Michel ran for 129 yards and had three touchdowns and the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 in the divisional playoffs on Sunday to earn their eighth straight trip to AFC championship game.

New England (12-5) will play at Kansas City in next week's AFC title game. The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in Foxborough in Week 6.

It is the 13th conference championship game appearance by the Patriots during the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. The Chargers (13-5) haven't reached the AFC title game since the 2007 season.

Quarterback Philip Rivers finished 25 of 51 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He is 0-5 in games played in Foxborough, Mass., including 0-3 in the post-season.

Brady finished 34 of 44 for 343 yards and a touchdown. He improves to 8-0 as a starter against Rivers, who drops to 1-8 against New England all-time.

James White tied Darren Sproles' NFL post-season record with 15 catches, totalling 97 yards.

New England scored on its first four possessions of the game to build a 35-7 halftime lead.

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