Sports

Burress Has 3 TDs; Jets Rally, Beat Chargers 27-21

View Comments
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, center, looks on during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, center, looks on during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ One trip into the end zone wasn’t
enough for Plaxico Burress.

Neither was two.

One touchdown catch after another, Burress had the big breakout
game he and the New York Jets have been expecting.

The veteran wide receiver tied a career high by catching three
TD passes, including the go-ahead score that was set up by another
interception by Darrelle Revis, and the Jets stormed back in the
second half to defeat the San Diego Chargers 27-21 on Sunday.

“Every morning you wake up on Sundays and you want to be
great,” said Burress, who has been slow to develop a rapport with
quarterback Mark Sanchez. “I had to let the game come to me. I
think I’ve been forcing it. But this was them saying, ‘He’s been
working hard, we’ll stick with it.’

“The fans pay money to come see you do well, and I felt for the
past few weeks I was not playing well. This is gratifying.”

Leading 21-17, the Chargers appeared to be driving for a
possible game-sealing score when Philip Rivers threw to Vincent
Jackson and the ball tipped off the receiver’s hands and right to
Revis, who returned the interception 64 yards to the Chargers 19.

“It was a big play,” said Revis, who thought cornerback
Antonio Cromartie also got a piece of the ball.

Revis had two interceptions on Monday night, including a
100-yard touchdown return, in the Jets’ 24-6 win against the Miami
Dolphins.

After a few runs by Shonn Greene and a defensive holding penalty
_ the Chargers’ 11th penalty in the game _ Sanchez found Burress on
a slant for a 3-yard touchdown to give the Jets (4-3) the lead for
the first time with 8:41 remaining. It was Burress’ second three-TD
catch game of his career, and first since 2007 while 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.”

San Diego turned it over again on its next possession when the
Chargers (4-2) faced a third-and-6 from their 41 and Kyle Wilson
picked off Rivers for the first interception of his career.

Nick Folk’s 30-yard field goal with 1:36 left made it 27-21. San
Diego had one last shot for a winning drive, but couldn’t really
threaten against New York’s defense.

“It’s our fault,” Chargers tight end Randy McMichael said.
“You can ask any question you want to ask. The San Diego Chargers
beat the San Diego Chargers. Nothing to do with the New York Jets.
It’s embarrassing.”

With the win, the Jets headed into their bye-week break with two
straight wins _ both at home _ after a three-game road losing
streak. They also are off to their first 4-0 start at home since
2004.

“I feel like we’re hitting our stride right now,” coach Rex
Ryan said. “We saw our team, the one we kind of envisioned at the
start of the season. We were slow to get it going, but we saw it.”

Sanchez finished 18 of 33 for 173 yards, three touchdowns and an
interception. Burress finished with four catches for 25 yards, but
he provided the red-zone presence the Jets hoped he’d be when they
signed him as a free agent after he served 20 months in prison on a
gun charge.

“He had three TDs,” Ryan said with a grin. “Not bad.”

Greene had a season-high 112 yards on 20 carries. LaDainian
Tomlinson, facing his former team for the first time since signing
with the Jets last offseason, became the fourth running back in NFL
history with 600 catches before leaving in the fourth quarter with
the flu. He finished with 14 yards rushing and three catches for 37
yards.

“I woke up this morning feeling pretty bad,” he said, “but
was able to push through as long as I could.”

The game had some added spice when Ryan created a coast-to-coast
stir when he said he would’ve won a few Super Bowl rings if he had
been hired as the Chargers’ coach in 2007. That job went to Norv
Turner, who shot back at Ryan asking if Ryan had those rings stored
with the ones he has guaranteed with the Jets.

The two shook hands after the game and had a brief but cordial
conversation.

“Before the game, I thought I could get him inside, work the
body,” Ryan joked. “Obviously, my chin is not so good. Again, it
was unintentional and unfortunate. I have so much respect for
Norv.”

The Chargers jumped out to an early lead and would have been up
by a bunch if not for their mistakes. San Diego, coming off its
bye, was called for a whopping 13 penalties.

“The bottom line is we came out playing really well,” said
Rivers, who was 16 of 32 for 179 yards and a touchdown _ and the
two costly interceptions. “We just didn’t finish off the game. If
we played the second half like we played the first, it would have
been a two-touchdown victory.”

Mike Tolbert gave San Diego a 21-10 lead with 1:16 remaining in
the first half on a 1-yard touchdown run.

New York had an impressive drive on its second possession of the
second half, capping a 10-play drive on Burress’ 4-yard touchdown
catch that made it 21-17 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.

“We put our defense in a hole early, it felt like,” Sanchez
said. “We almost spotted them 14 points.”

Donald Butler gave the Chargers an early 7-0 lead when he ripped
the ball out of the hands of New York tight end Dustin Keller and
scored on a 37-yard fumble recovery.

New York appeared to take a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter
on a 23-yard touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes, but the score was
negated by a holding penalty on center Nick Mangold. Two plays
later, Eric Weddle picked off a pass that set up Antonio Gates’
2-yard touchdown catch with 12:11 left in the first half. Gates,
who missed three games with a flare-up of plantar fasciitis in his
right foot, finished with five catches for 54 yards.

The Jets came right back as Burress caught a 3-yard touchdown
pass with 7:18 left in the opening half to make it 14-10. The Jets
were helped by four Chargers penalties _ two pass interference
calls and two offsides _ on the drive.

“This,” Revis said, “was a must-win for us.”

Notes: Tomlinson joined Larry Centers (827), Marshall Faulk
(767) and Keith Byars (610) as running backs with 600 or more
receptions. … Jets DT Kenrick Ellis left with an ankle injury in
the opening quarter and didn’t return. … Chargers LT Marcus
McNeill sat out most of the second half with an undisclosed injury.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,093 other followers