It's something new every week for the 2005 New York Jets. If two weeks ago it was the turnovers that ultimately cost the Gang Green the game against Atlanta, today it was the heralded Jets' defense that came out totally flat and gave up 395 yards to the San Diego Chargers.
The beginning of the game had all the signs of a potential blowout, as the Chargers simply rolled over the Jets' defense and scored touchdowns on their both possessions in the first quarter. The Jets were given a perfect chance to put points on the board when CB Justin Miller returned the ball to the 41-yard line on the opening kickoff and San Diego added a 15-yard penalty, instantly putting the Jets close to field goal range. The drive, however, ended with yet another missed field goal by PK Mike Nugent, leaving the Gang Green once again empty-handed in the first quarter.
As the second quarter began, the Jets cut the Chargers' lead to 14-7 when RB Curtis Martin scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. The score was set up by a beautiful 47-yard pass to TE Chris Baker. Unfortunately, San Diego wasn't going to slow down just yet. On the ensuing possession they marched down the field, just like in the 1st quarter, and easily extended the lead to 21-7. The Jets responded with a scoring drive of their own, as Nugent converted a 35-yard field goal attempt, 21-10. Last in the quarter the Chargers had another chance to extend their lead, but Brees' pass was intercepted by CB David Barrett, finally making San Diego' offense return to the sidelines without scoring a touchdown.
As the second half began, the Jets' defense continued what they started late in the 2nd quarter. After just three plays San Diego was forced to punt from their own 8-yard line, giving the Jets another excellent field position - on the Chargers' 48-yard line. Sadly, the Gang Green wasted this chance as well, despite even a 40-yard pass interference penalty that gave them a 1st and goal on San Diego's 8-yard line. Nugent kicked another field goal, cutting the lead to 21-13. Next Chargers' possession resulted in another three and out and the Jets got the ball on their own 20-yard line. This time, however, the Gang Green returned the favor, as QB Vinny Testaverde was sacked on a 3rd and 8 and had to leave the game with a leg injury. He was replaced by QB Brooks Bollinger who lead the Jets to two touchdown drives in the 4th quarter, reducing the Chargers' lead to just 31-26.
With a bit more than three minutes left in the fourth quarter the Jets defense finally made a big play when DE John Abraham sacked Brees, causing a fumble that was recovered by LB Jonathan Vilma on San Diego's 30-yard line. The Jets moved the ball inside the Chargers' 5-yard line and had four attempts to win this game, but failed...
RB Curtis Martin had 21 carries for 72 yards and became the 16th player in NFL history to score 100 touchdowns. QB Brooks Bollinger finished the game 11 of 20 for 106 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. His quarterback rating was an impressive 103.3. WR Laveranues Coles had 6 receptions for 64 yards, which included a touchdown in the 4th quarter. RB Cedric Houston carried the ball for the first time in his NFL career - 2 rushes for 10 yards. TE Chris Baker, who made two catches for 49 yards, broke his ankle and is out for the season. WR Wayne Chrebet suffered another concussion late in the 4th quarter.
LB Jonathan Vilma led the defense with 11 tackles (8 solo). S Kerry Rhodes made 8 tackles (7 solo). DE John Abraham had the only Jets' sack of the game.
The Jets are 2-6 and in the last place in the AFC East. Next Sunday they will play on the road against the Carolina Panthers (6-2).