Chargers defense: From goats to saviors

It didn't take long for San Diego Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer to get his first penalty of the day. He was called for a personal foul on the opening kickoff, giving the Jets the ball in San Diego territory after Justin Miller returned the ball to the 41.

That penalty would not haunt the team as Mike Nugent missed a field goal attempt from 51 yards out.

"I talked to Quentin after he got the first one but I thought later on the conversation we had might have helped him," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

It was the second penalty that was critical. His 40-yard pass interference call setup a Nugent field goal that brought the Jets to within eight.

"I think the more you worry the worse you play," Jammer responded when asked about penalties affecting his play.

Oddly enough, it was Jammer who went from potential goat to savior. He knocked the ball away from Justin McCareins in the final seconds of the game in the back of the end zone to preserve the 31-26 victory.

"We needed to make a play and they ran a couple fades on me and I figured they would try and run another," added Jammer.

The Jets ability to contain Curtis Martin contributed to the success of the team. They allowed one 21-yard rush but kept him to a 3.4 average per rush – and excluding the one big run 2.55 on the other 20 carries.

It limited the Jets playcalling in the end. They had the ball second down and three with over a minute to go and threw the ball three straight times. Not much faith in the running game and workhorse Curtis Martin.

"We did a good job stopping the run," linebacker Donnie Edwards said. "I don't know if it was a combination of us bringing players or their inability to pick up the right guy."

"Give credit to them, they have a heck of a football team and a really good defense," Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger said. "They were able to get the best of us in the end."

The Jets entered the red zone six times and scored touchdowns three times. It matched the total amount of touchdowns allowed in the red zone over the last three games.

But when it came to stopping the Jets on the final drive, they showed shades that have made them one of the toughest teams to score upon. It marked the third time in four games that they have stopped teams on downs.

Incidentally, the Chargers have scored more touchdowns in the red zone than any other team. They have pushed 23 of 33 attempts over the goal line when inside their opponents 20.

The surprise isn't how well the offense has played but the defense stepping up over the last few games has been a blessing. The Jets got 27 of the 30 yards they needed on that final drive but the Bolts knew they could give them 29 as long as they kept them out of the end zone.

And that is exactly (27 yards) what they did to bring the team to 5-4 going into the bye week.

"I think it worked out well for us because the defense had to come up and make a stop and they did," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.


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