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Too Many Strikes in SoCal: Jets Fall, 48-29


2008 Week 3 Monday Night - Jets vs Chargers Photos

The Jets scored 29 points Monday night in San Diego, but they still lost by 19 to the Chargers. It was an explosive lightning show by the 'Bolts as they took advantage of four Jets miscues and cruised to a 48-29 victory.

After racing out of the gates, the Jets committed three first-half turnovers that led to 21 points and a failed onside kick that set up a short field for another seven as the Chargers dominated the first half of action. Big plays by David Barrett and Leon Washington kept the score close early, but there was just too much explosion from a desperate Chargers squad. 

"This team is deep in character," said Jets head coach Eric Mangini, "but what we collectively have to do is come back and work consistently to make sure things like this don't happen again." 

Both the Jets and the Chargers are 1-2 after three weeks of the season.

His buddies in the defensive backfield call him "Super Dave" and David Barrett, in his first start as a pro safety, was indeed super at the start of this showdown. On just the third play from scrimmage, Barrett jumped in front of tight end Antonio Gates and returned his 18th career interception 25 yards into the end zone. It was DB's first touchdown in nine seasons and 123 career games.

"I saw him run the out route and I had him if he came up like that," Barrett said.  "Once he came up, I broke on the ball and I just happened to take it."

Nate Kaeding's 36-yard-field goal cut the Jets' first quarter lead to 7-3 on the 'Bolts' second possession. But Dwight Lowery, the fourth-round pick from San Jose State in just his third career start, made a couple of brilliant pass breakups to keep the damage minimal.

The Green & White's first turnover proved costly. While fighting for extra yardage, Thomas Jones had the ball ripped away by LB Tim Dobbins. The loose ball was scooped up by Quentin Jammer and returned 23 yards to the Jets' 16. Jerricho Cotchery made a terrific shoestring tackle to stop Jammer, but Philip Rivers connected with FB Mike Tolbert five plays later. The 1-yard pass gave the Chargers their first lead at 10-7.

Then the second quarter got off to an ominous start. Brett Favre threw a short pass to Laveranues Coles out to the left and the 6'2" Antonio Cromartie, an All-Pro corner who had 10 picks a year ago, made a tremendous play. He was able to tip the ball to himself, then strolled 52 yards to paydirt. All of a sudden, the Chargers were up, 17-7.

Washington answered with a 94-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, setting up Favre to Coles from 3 yards out. The Jets went for a huge momentum changer next but Wallace Wright couldn't handle Jay Feely's onside kick and the Chargers were just 44 yards from another score.

"We had an overload look and wanted to do it after a momentum-changing situation like a touchdown," Mangini said of the kick decision. "With the overload look they weren't adjusting over, so we had more guys that they had."

Rivers increased the cushion again to 10, at 24-14, when he found a wide-open Chris Chambers for a 27-yard score. Safety Eric Weddle was the recipient of a miscommunication between Favre and Cotchery in coming up with the Chargers' second pick. That set up Rivers to Gates and the Chargers had a commanding 31-14 lead at the break.

The prolific Chargers, who averaged 31 points in their first two games, went up by 17 on Favre and company. Of Favre's 161 wins, none had come after his team had trailed by more than 14 points. Making matters worse for the Jets: NT Kris Jenkins left the field with a back injury in the opening quarter and did not return.

Without Jenkins in the lineup, the Chargers went right to the run in the third quarter. LaDainian Tomlinson got on the board with a 2-yard dive, culminating an impressive 79-yard drive. San Diego punter Mike Scifres wasn't used until one minute remained in the third quarter.

Favre and Chansi Stuckey kept their streak going in the final quarter, combining for a scoring hookup for the third consecutive game. Tight end Dustin Keller, the 30th overall selection in April's draft, closed the Jets' scoring in the fourth, hauling in a 13-yard pass from Favre with 3:09 remaining for his first pro touchdown reception. The Jets would not be mounting a late charge on this otherwise beautiful Southern California evening. 

"When we went to more of our empty package, we obviously were productive as far as moving the ball up and down the field," said Favre after hobbling to the postgame news conference on a sore left ankle. "They still blitzed and they still gave us whatever they could give us. I just got it out to those guys and let them make plays."

Coast to Coast

The Jets won't return to Newark Airport until early Tuesday morning. Then they'll have a short week to prepare for the 2-1 Cardinals before the bye. Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt, a Jets assistant back in 2000, kept his team in Washington following their loss to the 'Skins and they'll practice the next few days at Catholic University before training up to New York City on Saturday.

Fruitful Returns

In addition to Washington's 94- and 45-yard returns, the Jets also got a 54-yard kickoff return from Jerricho Cotchery. That J-Co run set up a two-play, 19-yard drive, ending on Favre's connection with Keller.

"We did well on special teams," said Washington, who averaged 39 yards on his five kick returns.  "We didn't do well on offense and defense, and when we don't do that it's very disappointing."

Tomlinson Contained

Although he scored a pair of second-half touchdowns, LaDainian Tomlinson was held in check for most of the night, rushing for 67 yards on 26 carries.

Pressure Slowed

After tallying eight sacks in their first two weeks, the Jets failed to get to Rivers.

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