SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The same New York Jets who backed into the
playoffs were the latest team to usher Marty Schottenheimer into
Doug Brien kicked a 28-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in
overtime to get linebacker Eric Barton off the hook for a huge
penalty and give the Jets a 20-17 upset over the Chargers in a
wild-card game Saturday night.
The winning drive started on the New York 30 after Chargers
rookie Nate Kaeding was wide right on a 40-yard field goal try with
4:19 left in overtime. It included an 18-yard pass from Pennington
to Santana Moss that was upheld on review.
The Jets celebrated wildly while Schottenheimer walked across
the field with a far-off look on his face.
"That has to be one of the most dramatic games I've been a part
of," said New York's Curtis Martin, the NFL's regular-season
rushing champion who was held to just 66 yards on 18 carries.
And just like that, Schottenheimer still can't win in the
playoffs. Named the Coach of the Year earlier in the day, he
suffered his fifth straight playoff loss dating to 1993 with the
Kansas City Chiefs and fell to 5-12 in his career, which also
included a stop in Cleveland.
Schottenheimer's teams have gone one-and-out eight times.
"I've been through this before; that's been well-documented,"
Schottenheimer said. "My disappointment, quite frankly, is with
the players in that locker room and the community."
Chad Pennington, bothered by a sore throwing shoulder for five
games, threw two touchdown passes for the Jets, who led 17-7 late
in the third quarter and should have won in regulation.
But the Chargers forced overtime when All-Pro tight end Antonio
Gates caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Pro Bowler Drew Brees to
tie it at 17 with 11 seconds left in regulation.
It came one play after Jets linebacker Eric Barton was whistled
for a personal foul for hitting Brees on the helmet with his right
forearm after Brees threw a desperation pass on fourth-and-goal
that was batted down in the end zone.
As Brien kicked the winning field goal, Barton sighed in relief.
"I needed guys to dig me out of this and they did," Barton
Brien's winning kick came minutes after Kaeding's flub.
"I don't know what happened," Kaeding said. "I let my
teammates and my coaches down and I wasn't able to look them in the
eye when I came back in the locker room knowing that I didn't do my
Pennington, who's led the Jets to three straight wins in San
Diego dating to 2002, was 23-of-33 for 279 yards. Brees was
31-of-42 for 319 yards.
Pennington threw a go-ahead, 47-yard touchdown pass to Moss
early in the third quarter.
His second TD pass of the night went at least 55 yards in the
air, and Moss caught it 2 yards deep in the end zone after getting
behind safety Jerry Wilson and cornerback Quentin Jammer. That
score gave the Jets a 14-7 lead.
The Jets ended a five-game road playoff losing streak. The last
time they won away from home was Jan. 15, 1983, when they beat the
Los Angeles Raiders 17-14.
The Jets got into the playoffs only because Buffalo lost to
Pittsburgh last weekend.
"People doubted everything about us but we came out and we
proved people wrong," tackle Kareem McKenzie said.
The Chargers were undisciplined, including their coach.
Schottenheimer was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for
running onto the field after punter Mike Scifres took a dive in the
The 15-yard penalty gave the Jets the ball on the San Diego 37,
and Pennington hit wide-open tight end Anthony Becht on a 13-yard
touchdown pass five plays later that allowed the Jets to tie it at
7 with just less than three minutes before halftime.
"I absolutely blew a fuse," Schottenheimer said. "It's
unforgivable that I would do that."
The Chargers, in the playoffs for the first time in nine
seasons, were booed by the sellout crowd when their offense went
conservative in the third quarter.
San Diego's Pro Bowl trio of Brees, Gates and LaDainian
Tomlinson were largely ineffective against a Jets defense that was
without Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham, who missed his fifth
straight game with a sprained right knee.
Brees did throw a sensational 26-yard touchdown pass to Keenan
McCardell in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.
McCardell made on over-the-shoulder catch, came down with his
left foot and then dragged his right foot across the grass just
before tumbling out of the end zone. It was initially ruled
incomplete, but Schottenheimer challenged and it was overturned on
Brien kicked a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter and
Kaeding kicked a 35-yarder early in the fourth.
Brien was wide-right on a 33-yard field goal attempt on the
game's opening drive.
Several players slipped even though the field was kept covered
until about two hours before kickoff. Heavy rain that had been
forecast didn't materialize, although there was a steady rain
during most of the first quarter.