Near the end of the first half yesterday, the Jets heard a few boos from the home crowd. They probably deserved 'em, too, because things were going quite poorly. The Chargers had reached the end zone minutes after the coin flip, returning a ball bobbled by Dustin Keller (ruled a fumble) for an instant 7-0 lead. They'd picked Mark Sanchez in the end zone and twice ridden down the field on the back of Mike Tolbert (seriously, I bet Tolbert's back could comfortably seat at least two people) to set up two more short-distance scores. All the Jets had going for them was a field goal and a spotty mid-second-quarter drive lubricated by San Diego penalties and ending in a three-yard touchdown catch by Plaxico Burress. The Jets were down 21-10, spirits were low, and folks were probably wondering what they ever saw in the soon-to-be 3-4 squad.
And then the Jets showed up! You know, the Jets that play "ground and pound" football. The Jets with a massive red zone threat. The Jets that clog the line of scrimmage and get big plays from their secondary. Those Jets awoke at halftime, and played a sparkling second half to right the ship.
Shonn Greene (who, to be fair, had already registered some nice runs in the first half) worked through an apparent injury to notch 112 yards, earning New York one first down after another and quelling notions that his job might be in jeopardy. (LaDainian Tomlinson, meanwhile, had a few nice receptions, then spent most of the second half beset by a flu on the sideline.) If Greene was the setup man, then Burress was the closer, casually collecting another two short touchdowns to complete a hat trick and remind everybody why the Jets acquired him. It warrants mentioning that the Chargers, perhaps a bit rusty following a bye week, kept committing penalties well into the second half. That didn't hurt, but no matter what Randy McMichael says, the Jets found their winning formula, and they put it to great use in Sunday's second half.
There was reason to believe the comeback wouldn't be enough. The Chargers, after all, had already weathered a few rallies this year. But the Jets' D didn't even give them a shot. New York rejected third-down opportunities with aplomb, limiting San Diego to just seventeen total yards in the third quarter, and picking Philip Rivers twice in the fourth. With a bit of help from some borderline-slapstick clock management by Norv Turner and Philip Rivers, they iced San Diego's final possession and emerged victorious, 27-21.
What a relief! The Jets now head into the bye week with a 4-3 record, having won two straight. They'll make good use of this bye, as a number of guys have healing to do in the time off. And they better get good and healthy, because November brings some big divisional games: two dates with the Bills and a rematch with the Patriots in Week 11. Let's hope this momentum lasts through the bye week, eh?