The last time the San Diego Chargers faced the New York Jets was in the 2009 postseason. The Chargers were pegged as the favorite to win the match-up as the Jets had barely limped into the playoffs following a 2 game win streak against teams who had already sealed up their playoff berths. The Chargers were on an 11 game win streak and looked to be firing on all cylinders.
The Chargers looked to get on the scoreboard first as they lined up Nate Kaeding for a 36 yard field goal attempt. Kaeding had a career accuracy of 87.2% and a season accuracy of 91.4% conversion. But when he lined up for what was looked at as a “chip-shot” field goal, he pulled it wide right. Heads of Charger fans nationwide sunk as we failed to get on the board with our 2nd possession. Kaeding had a murky past against the Jets after blowing an opportunity to win the game in overtime in the 2005 playoff matchup(which the Jets ended up winning).
The first quarter ended with the score still 0-0. Rivers was quick to change that as he took charge and led a scoring drive with a 13 yard touchdown pass to backup tight end Kris Wilson. At the end of the 2nd quarter with just seconds left on the clock, the Chargers let Kaeding attempt a 57 yard field goal which ended up falling short. So on a bright note heading into halftime, the Chargers were up 7-0 and the Jets had punted on each of their 6 possessions in the first half. All was looking bright for San Diego coming into the 2nd half, but then the virtual dark clouds started to roll in for the Bolt Nation. The Jets came out a whole new team in the 2nd half, starting out the 3rd quarter with an opening field goal drive making the score now 7-3. Momentum was still in the Chargers direction as the next Jets possession was ended with a Mark Sanchez interception.
Now it was time to take full advantage and keep the ball rolling. “Rivers drops back looking for his man, and his pass is intercepted!” Shake it off Philip, you’ll get your groove back on your next possession. The Chargers defense held the Jets once again, not allowing them to produce on the turnover led drive. Rivers stepped back onto the field and began his march. Once again, he dropped back and fired it to Vincent Jackson. The ball was juggled by Jackson and in an effort to keep the ball live, the ball bounced off of VJ’s foot and into the hands of the Jets defense. Heads of Bolt fans hung low as we felt our luck was running low. The Jets were not about to lose this opportunity to cash in on a lucky interception. They took the lead with a scoring drive and now brought the score to 7-10.
Entering the 4th quarter and trailing by 3, the Chargers looked to get back into rhythm on offense. Unfortunately, their efforts fell short as the offense continued to stutter and the Jets defense began to gain momentum. The Jets forced the Chargers to punt, and began their own 4th quarter rally. On the contrary to the Bolts, their efforts paid in full as they cashed in for a TD and extending their lead to 7-17. It’s now or never for San Diego as Rivers leads the offense down field to setup yet another Nate Kaeding field goal attempt. This time it was from 40 yards out. If only we could tack these 3 points, we would have the chance to take this game to overtime and even potentially win it in regulation. Kaeding lines up, the ball is snapped, kick up….. and…… WIDE RIGHT AGAIN!
Rex Ryan looked like a child at Chuck-E-Cheese as he pumped his fist in joy! He knew that the cards were now in his favor and all he had to do was hold us off. Not so fast Rex. We have a man named Philip Rivers and he is quite fired up. With the game on the line, the Chargers held the Jets to a 3 and out and put Rivers back on the field. Philip took the game into his own hands commanding a comeback drive and eventually scoring on a QB sneak! Now the game is within 3 points, Chargers 14 and Jets 17. One last glimpse of hope as the Jets were faced with 4th and 1 on their own 29 yard line and 1:09 left on the clock. Thomas Jones takes the handoff up the middle and blast through for 2 yards, sealing the Chargers fate and ending their Super Bowl hopes.
Now, for the first time since that unfortunate game the Chargers have a chance at revenge in week 7 of the 2011 season! But what makes this game so special? The Jets running game will be relying in part on LaDainian Tomlinson. LT will face the Chargers for the first time since leaving in 2010. There is also a chance that we will be facing our old defensive star, Antonio Cromartie as well. Both of these players will be carrying a big chip on their shoulders coming into this game and wanting revenge.
LT is looked at by many as the best Chargers player of all time, and one of the best players in NFL history. What are your feelings on seeing LT carry the ball against the Chargers top ranked defense? Will you be secretly rooting him on for his Chargers past, or will you be hoping he runs head first into the San Diego rush defense wall? Will you be hoping that Ryan Mathews shows LT and the Jets exactly why it is that San Diego put all their faith in him? Bring on the heat, cause this matchup could prove to be one of the more interesting of the season!