EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- LaDainian Tomlinson and his
Chargers teammates watched the Jets get one final chance to pull
out an improbable victory.
One thought must have crossed their minds: 'Oh no. Not again.'
No matter that Tomlinson was dazzling, with a career-high four
touchdowns and one particularly impressive move that left Pro Bowl
cornerback Ty Law frozen in his tracks. Drew Brees fumbled with
3:06 to go, and a surprisingly effective Brooks Bollinger had 30
yards to lead the Jets to the winning score.
This was all too much for the Chargers, whose four losses all
came in the closing minutes. But Quentin Jammer rescued San Diego
when he batted down a fade pass for Justin McCareins on
fourth-and-goal, preserving a 31-26 victory Sunday.
"It was nice. So many times we've been on the losing end of
games like this. I figured one game would have to go our way,"
Tomlinson scored on three runs and one catch, becoming the first
Charger since Chuck Muncie against Denver on Nov. 29, 1981, to have
four touchdowns in one game.
Heading into the contest, Tomlinson had the same number of
touchdown passes (three) as Jets quarterbacks. Bollinger changed
all that with a furious charge. Vinny Testaverde's straight right
calf tightened up, so Bollinger replaced him in the third quarter,
then threw two touchdown passes to make it a game.
Laveranues Coles made a beautiful play on the second one, barely
keeping his toes inbounds for the 8-yard score with 6:44 to play.
The scoring passes were the first through the air for the Jets
(2-6) since Week 2 against the Dolphins.
"We needed to make a play," Jammer said. "They ran a couple
fades on me. I figured they were going to try to run another one
and I just made a play on the ball."
The last time the teams met, it was another nailbiter. The Jets
squeaked out a 20-17 overtime win in the playoffs. The Chargers
(5-4) are tired of playing it close after a laundry list of tight
losses this season, including two on field goals in the closing
"That was the first thing in my mind. I'm sick of these type of
games," said Antonio Gates, who had eight catches for 132 yards.
"I was like this ain't about to keep happening. We worked too
Tomlinson, who finished with 25 carries for 107 yards, staked
the Chargers to a 21-10 halftime lead. On his 25-yard touchdown
reception, Tomlinson took a short pass from Brees and scooted down
the sideline. He juked out Law so badly, Law seemed to freeze in
"I was like the fans," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer
said. "I saw the cut on the touchdown he made against Ty Law and I
was anxiously awaiting the replay of it. I wasn't sure what I saw
Or, as Tomlinson said: "I was just being me. I enjoy making
people miss. You don't have time to think. You just react to what
Ty is doing. Ty was kind of giving me the inside. He was forcing me
inside so I kind of stuck him outside and made him hesitate. Then I
burst past him."
The Jets defense decided to play in the second half. Brees, who
was 20-of-27 for 270 yards, was held to 55 yards in the half, and
the Chargers had 114 total yards and eight first downs. Meanwhile,
Bollinger put together an inspired effort, going 11-of-20 for 106
"All you can ask is to have the ball in your hands with a
chance to win the game," Bollinger said. "I did, we did -- I just
didn't get it done."
Curtis Martin had 21 carries for 72 yards and became the 16th
player in NFL history to score 100 touchdowns, when he reached the
mark with a 1-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.
Now a season that started with such high hopes is virtually
ruined. No 2-6 team that lost in its eighth game has made the
The Chargers hope this win is the last close one they see in a
"It's about time something good like this happened," Brees
Jets WR Wayne Chrebet sustained a concussion, at least the
ninth in his college and pro career. Jets TE Chris Baker broke his
left ankle, and Edwards said, "He's done." RB Curtis Martin got
poked in the left eye and it was swollen half shut. ... Chargers WR
Reche Caldwell had a career high in receptions with five for 43
yards. ... The Chargers played without five starters: linebackers
Steve Foley, Randall Godfrey, strong safety Terrence Kiel,
offensive tackle Roman Oben and center Nick Hardwick.