It was a full country away from Gillette Stadium, but Patriots players and coaches seemed to feel at home Sunday night in San Diego.
New England capped a week of work on the West Coast with a hard-fought, playoff-caliber road win, a 23-14 victory over Philip Rivers' Chargers (8-5) that kept Patriots (10-3) in driver's seat for the No. 1 playoff seed.
It was indeed another impressive road win, the first of the year on grass, for Bill Belichick's team -- one that was made a little bit easier, on some level, by the huge pack of Patriots Nation supporters that converged on Qualcomm Stadium.
From the second New England players took the field for warmups, it was clear there was going to be vocal support for the visitors. Tom Brady acknowledged the road love the minute he jogged on the field.
Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best photos from the Patriots-Chargers game at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, December 7, 2014.
And Belichick said that support, from a uniquely-positioned contingent of fans located behind the New England bench, made the road contest unlike any could recall in his 40 years in the NFL.
"There was a lot of energy in the stadium: night game and the Chargers in their powder blues and definitely a lot of energy in the stadium. But there was a sea of Patriots fans behind our bench. I don't think I've ever quite seen that before," Belichick said. "They were just all kind of in the same spot, it was almost like a college game in a neutral site, where one side of the field is one team and the other side is the other team. It wasn't quite like that, but we had all those fans right behind us. They were loud and vocal."
It was so unique, in fact, that the vocal support confused the coach a bit at times during the back-and-forth action that played out with plenty of twists and turns for a full 60 minutes.
"There were a couple times when I was talking to somebody or talking to one coach or another while the other side of the ball was out there and you hear the fans start yelling and [you're] like, 'Uh oh, what happened?' and it was us making a good play and our fans cheering," Belichick said. "It was a little bit of a different sensation. But the crowd was – it was an electric night. The crowd had a lot of energy. The support and the fans that we had at the game and all of them there behind us was awesome. It was great."