Quick takes on the Jets' win after breaking down the tape:
1. The Jets beat the Chargers, in large part, because of their third-down defense. This was best on best -- the No. 1 third-down defense vs. the No. 1 third-down offense. Philip Rivers had his way in the first half, when the Jets used primarily four-man rushes. The Jets altered their approach in the second half, forcing Rivers into 1-for-7 passing with two interceptions.
On two occasions, the Jets used five-man rushes, with DB Kyle Wilson blitzing from the slot both times. On one play, a double-slot blitz with Wilson and Donald Strickland, Wilson pressured Rivers and recorded a QB hit. On Darrelle Revis' game-turning interception, the Jets changed up, rushing only three. They had seven DBs and, in a surprise, played zone instead of man-to-man. That means every player in coverage was looking at the QB and that enabled Revis to catch the deflection that went off the hands of WR Vincent Jackson.
A breakdown of Rivers on third down:
Category --- 1st Half --- 2nd Half
Comp-Att .... 4-4 ........ 1-7
Yds per att .. 12.5 ....... 4.3
1st downs .... 4 ........... 1
TD-Int ......... 1-0 ......... 0-2
2. The Jets forced the Chargers to play offense inside the numbers. Rivers, wanting to stay away from Revis and CB Antonio Cromartie, attempted 18 of his 31 throws to tight ends and running backs. The Jets did a good job on RB Mike Tolbert, who was targeted only once. He entered the game as their leading receiver.
3. As we mentioned, the Jets did a nice job against the Chargers' vertical passing game, their bread and butter. Jackson was targeted only four times on passes of more than 15 yards, and he finished with one catch for 15 yards (with an interception) on those throws, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Chargers Passing (15+ yards downfield)
Category --- 1st 5 Gs --- Sunday
Rec-tgt ..... 18-39 ....... 4-9
Rec-tgt pct .. 46.2 ...... 44.4
30+ Yd rec ... 6 .......... 0
Rec TD ........ 3 ............ 0
4. The Jets still have some issues with their tight-end coverage, as there were a couple of blown coverages on passes to Antonio Gates and Randy (Sour Grapes) McMichael. The costliest mistake came on Gates' 2-yard TD catch. S Eric Smith was reponsible for outside coverage, but he went inside before the snap, following a player in motion. That left OLB Josh Mauga in man-to-man coverage against one of the most prolific pass-catching tight ends in history -- a huge mismatch. There was no safety help. Afterward, you could tell from S Jim Leonhard's body language that he was none too pleased with what appeared to be a mental error by Smith.
5. TE Dustin Keller got the heat for the Chargers' first TD, a 37-yard fumble return by LB Donald Butler, who picked Keller's picket. In reality, FB John Conner deserved a large share of the blame, too. Conner was supposed to block blitzing LB Takeo Spikes. He blocked Spikes once, but didn't stay with him. As a result, Spikes hit Mark Sanchez as he released the ball, causing an off-target throw that Keller failed to secure.
6. Hey, whadda ya know, the Jets finally realized that WR Plaxico Burress might be good in the red zone. In the first six games, he had only two red-zone receptions. On Sunday, he had three -- all for TDs. All three came in shotgun and all three went against CB Antoine Cason.
TD No. 1 -- Nice job by Sanchez, who looked left and threw right. The Chargers doubled WR Santonio Holmes, leaving Burress and WR Jeremy Kerley in single coverage.
TD No. 2 -- Easy pickings here. The Jets ran play-action and the Chargers rushed only three. Sanchez made a nice, back-shoulder pass to Burress, who used his 6-foot-5 frame to overpower Cason.
TD No. 3 -- Give some credit to O.C. Brian Schottenheimer here. The Jets went with an empty backfield and that confused the Chargers, who doubled Keller. Cason gave Burress a free release, perhaps expecting inside help from a safety. There was no help -- a blown coverage.
Sanchez to Burress, By Field Position
Category ---- Inside SD 25 --- Outside SD 25
Pct of Tot Plays ... 19.2 ...... 5.5
Targets .............. 5 ............. 3
Comp pct ........... 60.0 ....... 33.3
TD-Int ............... 3-0 ......... 0-1
7. What was Rivers thinking on his last drive? The Chargers' clock management was brutal. They had no timeouts remaining, but they got the ball back with 1:29 to play. Rivers wasted precious time, hitting two short passes and missing opportunities to stop the clock by spiking the ball. Maybe Rex Ryan was right about Norv Turner.