Burress’ Big Day Lifts Jets to 27-21 Win Over Chargers


Jim McIsaac


Plaxico Burress finally provided the Jets (4-3) with the big plays they signed him for, catching three red zone touchdowns, in the Jets’ 27-21 win over the Chargers (4-3).

Burress had only four catches for 25 yards but made each one count. More importantly, the 6-foot-5 receiver gave Mark Sanchez the big red zone target the Jets envisioned when they signed Burress in the off-season. The two were in sync and seem to be developing chemistry, hooking up for scores of three, four and three yards.

The Jets’ offense struggled to get going early on. Chargers linebacker Donald Butler ripped the ball from tight end Dustin Keller on the fourth play of the game and returned it 37 yards to give the Bolts a 7-0 lead.

After a 35-yard field goal by Nick Folk made it 7-3, the Jets appeared to take the lead on a 23-yard strike from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes. However, a holding penalty erased the score and Jets would come away with nothing, as Sanchez was picked off by safety Eric Weddle two plays later.


The Jets’ offense finally got going in the second quarter with the team putting together an impressive 10 play, 77-yard drive that was capped by Sanchez’s three-yard touchdown pass to Burress. The score pulled the Jets to within four, but San Diego would counter right before the end of the half with a one-yard touchdown run by Mike Tolbert. The score put the Chargers up 21-10 with 1:16 to go.


The 21 first-half points would be all San Diego would muster, as the Jets trademark defense came to life. After Sanchez completed another 10 play scoring drive with a jump ball to Burress for a touchdown, the Jets defense went to work. They stifled the Chargers offense in the third quarter, forcing three punts and two three and outs.

In the fourth quarter with San Diego looking to extend their lead, Darrelle Revis picked off Phillip Rivers, on a pass that deflected off receiver Vincent Jackson’s hands, for his team-leading fourth interception of the season. Revis would take the ball back to the San Diego 19-yard line, and the Jets would capitalize on the great field position. Sanchez hit Burress over the middle of the field to give the Jets their first lead of the game 24-21.

It’s only fitting that Revis would again make the big play the Jets needed. In last week’s Monday night game against the Dolphins, Revis returned an interception 100 yards to get the Jets going when the offense was sputtering.

On the next Chargers possession Rivers would throw another inception looking for Jackson again. The pick made by Jets second-year corner Kyle Wilson was the first of his career.

The Jets followed the interception by manufacturing a time consuming drive that ended in a field goal. With the Chargers trailing 27-21 and 1:36 left on the clock, Rivers tried to lead his team back. However, the Jets’ defense rose to the occasion after allowing a first down, forcing a turnover on downs.

The win was big for the Jets, as they could not afford to fall below .500 again. The victory improved the team’s record 4-0 at home and gave them a two-game winning streak heading into their bye week. However, the Jets will need to find a way to win on the road as they travel to Buffalo in Week 9.

The offense, which has been criticized greatly over the past few weeks, put together a performance that will silence their doubters for at least another two weeks. Aside from the lone interception, the passing game was efficient. Though Sanchez’s numbers aren’t spectacular, 18 for 33 for 173 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, they were exactly what he needed. He took care of the ball and made big plays whenever the team needed him to, both with his arm and his legs.

Shonn Greene was equally as impressive rushing for 112 yards on 20 carries. This marks his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season and may prove he has worked his way out of his early season slump.

The Jets are now back in the hunt for their division crown, trailing the Patriots by two games. The momentum gained from this big win could give the Jets the push they need to play this high level of football weekly that they’re capable of.