- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Plaxico Burress scored three touchdowns and the defense pitched a second-half shutout as the New York Jets beat the San Diego Chargers 27-21 by scoring 17 unanswered points at MetLife Stadium.
What it means: It took seven games, but the Jets finally showed their resilience, rallying from a 21-10 deficit to win their second straight. This was a huge win for the Jets (4-3), who needed to beat a quality opponent. A loss would’ve crippled their playoff hopes.
Plax is back: A week ago, Rex Ryan said Burress and QB Mark Sanchez were “a little off” -- and, of course, that became a big story in New York. Looks like they’ve solved their issues. Burress pulled an Albert Pujols with a hat trick, scoring on catches of 3, 4 and 3 yards -- all against CB Antoine Cason, who probably needs to see a shrink after this beatdown.
It’s about time. The Jets signed Burress to be a red zone threat, yet they targeted him only seven times before Sunday. Finally, they made a concerted effort to exploit his 6-foot-5 presence near the goal line.
Revis saves: For the second straight game, CB Darrelle Revis made the game-turning interception. This time, it came in the fourth quarter with the Jets down by four points. His 64-yard return set up the go-ahead touchdown. Minutes later, CB Kyle Wilson also intercepted Philip Rivers.
Six days ago, Revis scored on a 100-yard interception return.
Ground & Pound: After taking baby steps the past two games, the Jets finally rediscovered their once-vaunted ground game. Shonn Greene rushed for a season-high day. The Jets felt confident they’d be able to run on the Chargers, who allowed 4.6 per carry. The Jets used a two-tight-end package most of the game, pounding away at the Chargers’ 3-4 front.
Flag men: C Nick Mangold and S Jim Leonhard are smart guys and don’t make too many mistakes, but they stepped out of character and committed costly penalties. Mangold’s holding call nullified a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes and Leonhard was flagged for pass interference on Gates at the Jets’ 1. You know things are going bad when your most disciplined players are hurting the cause. This calls for a “Dumb and Dumber” headline because the Chargers had too many penalties. San Diego’s defense couldn’t get out of its own way, responsible for nine of the flags.
Ex-Bolts: As expected, LaDainian Tomlinson received a ceremonial start against his former team, but he didn’t finish the game because of an undisclosed illness. He got a lot of early playing time (unofficially, he played 20 of 32 snaps in the first half), but there was no magic from the future Hall of Famer. Too bad, because it would’ve been a great story. As much as he downplayed it, Tomlinson wanted to play well against the team that cut him after the 2009 season.
Banged-up D:Jets DT Mike DeVito (knee) didn’t play and his replacement, rookie Kenrick Ellis (ankle), left in the first quarter and didn’t return. The Jets went to Marcus Dixon, a drop-off in run defense. ILB David Harris (ankle) also left for a quarter before returning in the third quarter. It created a patchwork feel in the front seven.
Actually, Josh Mauga started the game at outside linebacker, replacing Jamaal Westerman, a liability against the run. Mauga isn’t a stout defender, either, but the Jets wanted his pass-coverage skills on the field against the Chargers’ pass-catching backs, Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.
What’s next: The Jets have a bye week before resuming their season in Buffalo.