Mark Sanchez had a revelation; six foot five wide out Plaxico Burress is a deadly red zone target. Burress entered New York’s contest with San Diego having only two touchdowns to his credit, yet reeled in three scores on Sunday to lift the Jets to victory. Oddly enough, all three of Burress’ touchdowns were scored on third-and-goal plays, while his fourth quarter score put the Jets ahead to stay. Sanchez’s one hiccup occurred in the opening quarter as he aimed for Burress in the end zone only to underthrow the intended wide out with Chargers safety Eric Weddle intercepting the pass. Sanchez’s protection was solid as the signal caller had adequate time in the pocket and while his final stat-line was not exceptional; he engineered three second half scoring drives to lead the Jets to a rousing comeback win.
This was supposed to be LaDanian Tomlinson’s game, as the Canton-bound tailback was awarded the ceremonial start facing his former team. Unfortunately for Tomlinson he was forced out of action with the stomach flu, while running back Shonn Greene filled in valiantly and stole the show. Greene led all ball carriers with 112 yards on 20 carries; singlehandedly out-rushing San Diego’s dynamic duo of Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert. On a day when Greene achieved season highs in yards (112), yards-per carry average (5.6), along with team’s long run (24) the Jets regained their battering-ram running style and romped San Diego on the ground
With a 21-10 halftime lead, the Chargers looked primed to land a knockout blow; the problem was cornerback Darrelle Revis had other plans in mind. #24’s fourth quarter interception turned the tide for New York as San Diego began to unravel and the Jets defense regained its swagger. Kyle Wilson recorded his first career interception in the late stages of the final quarter denying Rivers yet another chance to put the Chargers in front.
For the first time since Week 2 against Jacksonville, New York held its opponent under 100 yards rushing. Matthews and Tolbert were held in check as the Jets returned to their run-stuffing ways. Clearly Rex Ryan’s message rang true as he urged his squad to win the rushing battling following three consecutive defeats in which they were badly outgained on the ground.
Sunday was a quiet day for Mike Westhoff and his explosive special teams unit as returners Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley were held without any jaw-dropping runbacks. San Diego keyed on McKnight blasting three kickoffs for touchbacks; eliminating any chance of a return. Punter T.J. Conley has seen better days as his 36.7 kicking average was far and away his worst performance of the season. Nick Folk was true on his two field goals (27,33) helping the Jets squeak out a 27-21 win.
Rex Ryan and the coaching staff made the necessary second half adjustments to overcome an 11 point deficit; all the while flustering quarterback Phillip Rivers. Brian Schottenheimer utilize the play action passing game to Sanchez’s advantage; allowing the Jets to take the training wheels off their offense.