In their last home game of the season, the Jets hoped to come out with a win and give themselves a chance to at least get to .500 on the season. However, they ended up losing to the Chargers 27-14 at MetLife Stadium. Both teams are now 6-9.
Chargers coach Norv Turner was proud of his team and the win over the Jets.
"I think our guys have hung in there awfully well and continued to prepare," Turner said.
The Chargers scored first on a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown by wide receiver/punt returner Micheal Spurlock.
Although the Chargers then stalled, allowing the Jets to go up 14-7 in the third quarter, they got in gear enough to go ahead, with quarterback Philip Rivers completing 11 of 22 for 165 yards and two TD passes, one to wide receiver Danario Alexander and a second to tight end Antonio Gates.
"It's how you win," Rivers said. "We've been in games where the score has been 14-10, 17-14 and we didn't find ways to win. That's why we're in this boat. We won today in all three phases."
The Jets defense did a decent job shutting Gates down for most of the game, holding him to just two catches for 44 yards. Unfortunately, one of those was the touchdown on which he got huge separation from Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
The Chargers attacked first-time starting Jets quarterback Greg McElroy (14 of 24 for 185 yards and an interception) and his offensive line, with six different players sacking him for 11 times -- the most in the NFL since Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was sacked 12 times by the Giants in 1997.
Turner said he was giving game balls to those six players and to Gates.
“I have to do a better job of getting the ball out,” McElroy said. “I have to learn how to negotiate in the pocket a little bit better.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan was understandably unhappy with the loss, but supported McElroy.
“When he wasn't on his back, I thought he did some good things,” Ryan said
In an odd move in a season of oddities, the Jets showcased their much-talked-about wildcat, but not with backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Instead, they put wide receiver Jeremy Kerley under center. Kerley threw just one pass, but it was a big one: a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Clyde Gates that set up the team's first touchdown, a one-yard rush by running back Shonn Greene. Kerley also rushed once for a two-yard gain.
When the game turned: In the third quarter, up by three points, Rivers hit Gates for a 34-yard touchdown to go ahead 24-14.
Highlight moments: Spurlock's 62-yard punt return for a TD in the beginning of the first quarter. ... Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, in on the wildcat, threw a 42-yard pass to Clyde Gates that set up an eventual one-yard TD run by RB Shonn Greene.
- Chargers: DE Kendall Reyes -- 3 tackles, 3.5 sacks
- Chargers LB Shaun Phillips -- 2 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
- Jets DL Mo Wilkerson – 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 batted down pass
What they said about Jets quarterback Greg McElroy being sacked 11
times (tying a Chargers record set in 1986):
- Chargers coach Norv Turner -- "It talks about the effort this time of year, sometimes people want to question that."
- Chargers DE Corey Liguet -- “(DT) Cam (Thomas) said, ‘Meet me at the ball,' a couple of times and I told him, ‘I'm going to beat you there.'” (Liguet had two sacks, Thomas none)
- Jets coach Rex Ryan -- "That was great on their part and ridiculous on our part."
- Jets quarterback Greg McElroy -- "We've just got to do a better job of getting on the same page."
- Jets center Nick Mangold -- "They brought some pretty good pressures and twists and stuff."
Numbers you should know: Gates became the Chargers' franchise touchdown leader with 82 career touchdown catches.
Injury update: Jets -- Cornerback Ellis Lankster left the game in the first half with a concussion. Wide receiver Chaz Schilens left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Chargers: Safety Brandon Taylor left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Going forward: Jets -- The Jets (6-9) face the Bills (5-10) in Buffalo next Sunday with nothing at stake except pride. Chargers -- The Chargers (4-9) finish their season at home against the Raiders (4-11). Both teams have a bleak week before looking ahead to 2013.