The turning point

The game that may have turned around their season is greeted by the bye week, sweeping away the momentum of the Chargers season.

Chargers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Drew Brees put up solid numbers for the third straight week, throwing for 270 yards and a score. But he did have two turnovers, the last one late in the game when being sacked by John Abraham. The protection was fine except the one play when Leander Jordan missed Abraham. Antonio Gates goes for a career-high 132 receiving yards, and he's a big reason for Brees' accuracy (20 of 27).

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- LaDainian Tomlinson's three scoring runs were with ease, which shows the type of run-blocking he was receiving. He did much of it on his own with his jaw-dropping cuts on the Giants Stadium Field Turf. Tomlinson finished with 107 yards; the team had 133.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- Uneven day here, as this defensive phase makes a star out of Brooks Bollinger -- two TD passes to rally the Jets. But when the game was on the line, Jamar Fletcher and Quentin Jammer knocked down passes for the win. This unit is missing CB Drayton Florence and SS Terrence Kiel. LB Shaun Phillips has two sacks in another good game.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Chargers' front seven was keen, holding the Jets to 89 rushing yards and Curtis Martin to a 3.4-yard average. The Jets' offensive line was playing hurt, and the Chargers' defensive linemen took advantage. Great quickness from Shawne Merriman and Donnie Edwards helped to slow Martin.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Coverage units are leaking oil, as the Jets averaged over 28 yards a return and had a long of 45. Shoring them up needs to be addressed over the bye. P Mike Scifres and K Nate Kaeding did their duties and KR Darren Sproles just missed a touchdown on a 50-yard return.

COACHING: A -- Some say the Chargers won despite of Marty Schottenheimer, as he sat on the second-half lead and pinned too much on his suspect secondary. He did play it safe by going for a field goal from the New York 1 -- but it put him up two scores with 8 minutes to play. However, for his team to prevail on the road at the end of a tough five-game stretch is worth a high mark.

Jets Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Starting QB Vinny Testaverde gets a D, while backup Brooks Bollinger gets a B. Testaverde was 6-for-11 for 98 yards, but engineered only one touchdown drive and didn't give the passing attack the downfield presence he was supposed to provide. His nagging right calf injury prevented him from planting, he said, and coach Herm Edwards said Testaverde's leg stiffened after halftime. Bollinger, who was 11-for-20 for 106 yards with two touchdowns, did give the Jets a spark because of his maneuverability.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Curtis Martin's 148-yard effort against Buffalo in the Jets' sixth game seems like it happened a long time ago. Martin was limited to 72 yards on 21 carries, although he did break off a 21-yarder. His 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the 100th of his career, tying Hall of Famer Franco Harris for 16th on the all-time list. Of course, the 100 TDs also means Martin has absorbed a lot of wear and tear in his career.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Drew Brees was 20-for-27 for 270 yards, and wasn't sacked until he was stripped by DE John Abraham to set up the Jets' final possession. TE Antonio Gates had eight receptions for 132 yards and was so open on one catch that he had time to juggle the ball and finally corral it before there was any contact. Second-year CB Derrick Strait split time with starter David Barrett, but Barrett did come up with an interception at the Jets' 4 to avert a possible score.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Some of LaDainian Tomlinson's moves made the Jets' run defense look worse than it really was. "L.T." finished with 107 yards on 25 carries, only a 4.3-yard average, and the Chargers were held to just below 4 yards per carry, even counting two Drew Brees kneel-downs at the end. DE Shaun Ellis trapped Tomlinson for a 3-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage of the second half.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Justin Miller averaged 28.2 yards on six kickoff returns, including a 45-yarder that led to a touchdown drive. He did a much better job of following his blockers on that one than he usually has. P Ben Graham had a 43.5-yard net average on two punts, while K Mike Nugent was 2-for-3 on field-goal attempts, missing wide left from 51 yards on the Jets' first drive. The kickoff coverage was victimized for a 50-yard return by Darren Sproles in the fourth period, setting up a key field goal for San Diego.

COACHING: D -- Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerhackett, er Heimerdinger, made some curious calls on the Jets' final drive, dialing up two fade patterns in the end zone instead of taking advantage of Brooks Bollinger's "escapability" and having him roll out and try to make something happen. He certainly didn't play to the backup's strengths in that sequence. Coach Herm Edwards probably should have turned to Bollinger sooner than he did.


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