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The way things began at MetLife Stadium on Sunday made it look like the Jets’ season was going to crash and burn. The Jets began the game with the ball, and in less than two minutes, they were already down 7-0 when Donald Butler stripped Dustin Keller of the ball and ran it back 37 yards for the score.
New York started gaining some momentum, and appeared to have a 10-7 lead on a 23-yard catch by Santonio Holmes, but the play was brought back due to a holding penalty on Nick Mangold. Two plays later, Mark Sanchez made a bad throw into double coverage, and was picked off by Eric Weddle, which led to a two-yard touchdown catch by Antonio Gates.
This was Gates’ first game back since missing three games with a foot injury. He finished with five catches, 54 yards, and the one touchdown. The Jets’ only touchdown in the first half capped a nice drive that saw a very balanced running and passing attack. Sanchez was able to find Plaxico Burress in the endzone on the third and goal, which brought the score to 14-10.
Four Charger penalties, two pass interferences, and offsides calls helped the drive. Had it not been for a lot of mistakes the Chargers made, they would’ve been up by more points by halftime. San Diego, which came out of a bye wee, had 13 penalties for 95 yards on the day. A late drive and a one-yard run by Mike Tolbert put the ‘Bolts up 21-10 going into halftime.
The second half was a different story. The Jets dominated on both sides of the ball. On their second possession of the half, the Jets had a nice 10-play drive finished off with Burress’ second touchdown of the day on a four-yard catch to make it 21-17 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
The play of the game came with the Chargers driving down with the lead, looking for the potential game sealing score when Philip Rivers threw to Vincent Jackson. The ball tipped off his hands due to the throw being a little behind him, and bounced right into Darrelle Revis’ hands, who returned it at 64 yards to the Chargers 19-yard line, which set up the go ahead score.
“It was a big play,” said Revis, who thought cornerback Antonio Cromartie also got a piece of the ball. After some good runs by Shonn Greene, who had a breakout game rushing for 112 yards on 20 carries, and a defensive holding penalty, Sanchez was able to find Burress yet again for his third touchdown of the day on a three-yard slant in the redzone to give the Jets their first and only lead with 8:41 remaining.
This was Burress’ second three-touchdown game, his first being the opening week of the 2007 season with the Giants. “You’ve got to evaluate yourself,” Burress said. “I looked at myself, and said I’ve got to play better. It was not on anybody but myself.”
On San Diego’s next possession, Rivers, who finished 16 of 32 for 179 yards and a touchdown, threw another interception, this time getting picked off by Kyle Wilson. The turnover set up a 30-yard run by Nick Folk to put the Jets up 27-21. San Diego’s final drive with no timeouts was a joke as they barely got plays off, and turned it over on downs.
Sanchez who, besides the early interception, picked things up finished 18 of 33 for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Burress finished with four catches for 25 yards, but proved to be the red-zone presence the Jets were looking for when they signed him at the beginning of the season.
The Jets head into a bye week, sitting at 4-3, riding a two-game winning streak. After the bye week are two divisional games against the Bills and a home rematch against the Patriots. The Jets improved to 4-0 at home. “This,” Revis said, “was a must-win for us.”
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