Tomlinson gets career-high 4 TDs as Chargers hold off Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- LaDainian Tomlinson and his

Chargers teammates watched the Jets get one final chance to pull

out an improbable victory.

It was over when ...

Quentin Jammer knocked down a fourth-and-goal pass intended for Justin McCareins in the end zone with 59 seconds left to put a halt to the Jets' comeback.

Game ball goes to ...

LaDainian Tomlinson, who scored four touchdowns -- the first Charger to do so since Chuck Muncie in 1981 -- and rushed for 107 yards on 25 carries. The Chargers needed all four scores to fend off the Jets.

ESPN's take ...

Eric Allen

It was extremely important for the Chargers to finally win a close game this season. This season they have found different ways to lose big games so it was great to see Quentin Jammer break up a potential touchdown in the end zone. This team is difficult to defeat because of their amazing offense featuring LT, Brees and Gates.

-- Eric Allen

One thought must have crossed their minds: 'Oh no. Not again.'

No matter that Tomlinson was dazzling, with a career-high four

touchdowns and one particularly impressive move that left Pro Bowl

cornerback Ty Law frozen in his tracks. Drew Brees fumbled with

3:06 to go, and a surprisingly effective Brooks Bollinger had 30

yards to lead the Jets to the winning score.

This was all too much for the Chargers, whose four losses all

came in the closing minutes. But Quentin Jammer rescued San Diego

when he batted down a fade pass for Justin McCareins on

fourth-and-goal, preserving a 31-26 victory Sunday.

"It was nice. So many times we've been on the losing end of

games like this. I figured one game would have to go our way,"

Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson scored on three runs and one catch, becoming the first

Charger since Chuck Muncie against Denver on Nov. 29, 1981, to have

four touchdowns in one game.

Heading into the contest, Tomlinson had the same number of

touchdown passes (three) as Jets quarterbacks. Bollinger changed

all that with a furious charge. Vinny Testaverde's straight right

calf tightened up, so Bollinger replaced him in the third quarter,

then threw two touchdown passes to make it a game.

Laveranues Coles made a beautiful play on the second one, barely

keeping his toes inbounds for the 8-yard score with 6:44 to play.

The scoring passes were the first through the air for the Jets

(2-6) since Week 2 against the Dolphins.

Then John Abraham sacked Brees and forced a fumble, which

Jonathan Vilma recovered. But the Jets failed on four attempts from

the 3, and their disappointing season continued.

"We needed to make a play," Jammer said. "They ran a couple

fades on me. I figured they were going to try to run another one

and I just made a play on the ball."

The last time the teams met, it was another nailbiter. The Jets

squeaked out a 20-17 overtime win in the playoffs. The Chargers

(5-4) are tired of playing it close after a laundry list of tight

losses this season, including two on field goals in the closing


"That was the first thing in my mind. I'm sick of these type of

games," said Antonio Gates, who had eight catches for 132 yards.

"I was like this ain't about to keep happening. We worked too


Tomlinson, who finished with 25 carries for 107 yards, staked

the Chargers to a 21-10 halftime lead. On his 25-yard touchdown

reception, Tomlinson took a short pass from Brees and scooted down

the sideline. He juked out Law so badly, Law seemed to freeze in


"I was like the fans," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer

said. "I saw the cut on the touchdown he made against Ty Law and I

was anxiously awaiting the replay of it. I wasn't sure what I saw

actually happened."

Or, as Tomlinson said: "I was just being me. I enjoy making

people miss. You don't have time to think. You just react to what

Ty is doing. Ty was kind of giving me the inside. He was forcing me

inside so I kind of stuck him outside and made him hesitate. Then I

burst past him."

The Jets defense decided to play in the second half. Brees, who

was 20-of-27 for 270 yards, was held to 55 yards in the half, and

the Chargers had 114 total yards and eight first downs. Meanwhile,

Bollinger put together an inspired effort, going 11-of-20 for 106


"All you can ask is to have the ball in your hands with a

chance to win the game," Bollinger said. "I did, we did -- I just

didn't get it done."

Curtis Martin had 21 carries for 72 yards and became the 16th

player in NFL history to score 100 touchdowns, when he reached the

mark with a 1-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.

Now a season that started with such high hopes is virtually

ruined. No 2-6 team that lost in its eighth game has made the


The Chargers hope this win is the last close one they see in a


"It's about time something good like this happened," Brees


Game notes
Jets WR Wayne Chrebet sustained a concussion, at least the

ninth in his college and pro career. Jets TE Chris Baker broke his

left ankle, and Edwards said, "He's done." RB Curtis Martin got

poked in the left eye and it was swollen half shut. ... Chargers WR

Reche Caldwell had a career high in receptions with five for 43

yards. ... The Chargers played without five starters: linebackers

Steve Foley, Randall Godfrey, strong safety Terrence Kiel,

offensive tackle Roman Oben and center Nick Hardwick.