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11 sacks carry Chargers past Jets

The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For one game at least, talk that the San Diego Chargers were no longer playing head coach embattled coach Norv Turner proved overblown.

Beating another team that's finishing up a disappointing season, the Chargers beat the New York Jets 27-17 Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

The Chargers (6-9) earned just their second win in seven games. Down 14-10 at halftime, San Diego came out of the break a different and invigorated team, limiting the Jets to 82 yards of total offense and three points in the second half.

"We have a lot of fight in us, everyone did. I think we came out and played very well," Chargers right tackle Kevin Haslam said. "The first half may not have gone the way we wanted to, but the second half looked the way we wanted it to. It all sort of clicked in the second half."

The second half was all about Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

Early in the game, Rivers was harried and hurried in the pocket, rarely looking comfortable. The Chargers managed just one offensive scoring drive before halftime, an 11-play, 50-yard march that resulted in a 51-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 8:32 left in the second quarter.

After halftime, Rivers found his rhythm in the passing offense. He connected with Danario Alexander on a 37-yard touchdown pass on San Diego's first possession of the second half, giving the Chargers a 17-10 lead. Later in the third quarter, tight end Antonio Gates took a short pass 34 yards for a 24-10 lead, and the Chargers never looked back.

Amid rumors of a possible exit for Turner and discontent over the play of Rivers, the Chargers looked like a team that had waved the white flag last week in a 31-7 home loss to the Carolina Panthers. However, against the Jets, the Chargers turned in a relatively complete effort after falling behind 14-7 in the first quarter.

The Chargers played like the same team that won in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, and they earned their fourth road win of the season.

The visitors got contributions from all three phases, including Micheal Spurlock's 63-yard touchdown on a first-quarter punt return that gave San Diego a 7-0 lead.

"Coach told us that a lot of people thought we were going to come out and just go through it, just play through it," Spurlock said. "Coming out early, that play, I think that showed that we weren't going to take this game lightly. There was and is no quit in this team. You play for the name on the back of your jersey and the bolt on that helmet. That's it."

The Jets were eliminated from playoff contention Monday night in a 14-10 loss at the Tennessee Titans. They played like a team with little on the line.

In his first NFL start, Jets quarterback Greg McElroy had an inconsistent afternoon due largely to an offensive line that gave up 11 sacks. McElroy finished 14-for-24 for 185 yards with an interception and a fumble lost.

"You can't beat anybody when you play like that," Jets coach Rex Ryan said of the sacks allowed. "Simple as that."

McElroy started in place of Mark Sanchez, who was benched following Monday's loss. Neither Sanchez nor the Jets' other quarterback, Tim Tebow, saw action in the game.

With the loss, the Jets (6-9) are assured of their first losing record since Ryan took over the team in 2009.

Rivers went 11-for-22 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He needs just 45 yards in Week 17 to become the first Chargers quarterback to have five consecutive seasons with 3,500 passing yards.

The Chargers committed no turnovers.

Kendall Reyes led San Diego's strong pass rush with 3.5 sacks. Shaun Phillips added 2.5 sacks, and Corey Liuget had two.

NOTES: Running back Shonn Greene's 30-yard reception on the Jets' second drive of the game was his longest of the season. It was his longest catch since Week 14 of 2011, when he had a 36-yard reception against the Kansas City Chiefs. Greene finished with 38 rushing yards on 14 attempts. ... In the second quarter, Jets tight end and former rugby player Hayden Smith had his first NFL reception, a 16-yard gain that went for a first down. ... Turner tied Dennis Green for 31st place on the all-time NFL list with 117 coaching wins.
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