"They never stopped playing hard," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.
The Chargers just weren't up to the task.
The defense was a step slow and missed opportunities. Jamar Fletcher had a chance at an interception and dropped it. There was a fumble behind the line of scrimmage that Igor Olshansky tried to pounce on.
Needing a big stop late in the game, the Chargers could not corral the Jets offense. On second and four the Chargers played the run and left Santana Moss in single coverage with Quentin Jammer. Jammer pulled and tugged the jersey of Moss but it wouldn't matter. Moss came down with the reception 49 yards down the field.
"That was the biggest series for us defensively and we failed," Donnie Edwards said.
"He was all over me. You gotta have concentration," Moss said. "I just kept going, and Chad threw it up for me. Nothing was going to stop me from making that play."
He went out of bounds at the three yard line and he didn't even have to make the play since pass interference was also called on the play.
"They brought the house, and left the two corners on islands," Jets quarterback Chad Pennington said.
The Chargers were able to close within six points but that drive could have been the difference.
Then again, it could have been the two quick scores the Jets put up that got the Chargers out of their gameplan – as happened so often a year ago.
"We let them score touchdowns," Edwards said. "Before you know it we were down fourteen. We didn't execute the way I expect."
The Chargers created four turnovers a week ago but were on the other side of that number this weekend.
Four times was the magic number. Drew Brees threw two interceptions that turned into 14 points for the Jets, including an interception on their first series of the game.
"We turned the ball over in the first series," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Any time you turn the football over early, you are going to have a slow start. The crowd wasn't able to get into the game with the slow start."
"The best thing we did was take the football away early," Herm Edwards said. "We came into the game with a mind-set to take the crowd out of the game."
Eric Parker fumbled a punt return trying to make too much happen and the Jets turned it into three points. A botched snap in Jets territory ended a possible scoring drive and was the only turnover the Jets could not turn into points.
A disgruntled Schottenheimer was fuming after the game about the turnovers. He was not at all concerned with the one yard of passing that Drew Brees had at halftime. He was peeved about the turnovers.
"You know exactly what happened to today," he said. "You turn the ball over four times and not taking it away – end of story."
On the one yard passing, Schottenheimer called it "rather disappointing."
"That doesn't concern mean as much as turning the ball over. It was the difference a week ago and was the difference this week. Minus four in the takeaway/giveaway you are not even in the game."
Denis Savage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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