The Jets found a way to lose the close one all season long In fact, all three of their losses heading into Week 5 were by eight points or less. The latest loss was far from that.
The Chargers obliterated the Jets, 31-0, in a game over essentially by the midpoint of the second quarter.
Even the insertion of veteran quarterback Michael Vick did little to help an offense that was without top wide receiver Eric Decker. Vick, operating largely out of the shotgun, was sacked twice on his first two drives. He completed just one of his first 10 passes and finished 9-for-20 for 47 yards in his first action since the fourth and final preseason game.
Twice in the first half, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers found tight end Antonio Gates in the end zone to stake out an early 14-0 lead. Then moments before the two-minute warning, Rivers threw up a short wobbling pass to running back Branden Oliver that turned into a 50-yard gain on third-and-17. Oliver then put San Diego up 21-0 with 15-yard run through the heart of the Jets defense, essentially putting the game away.
Metro looks at went wrong in the Jets’ loss at the Chargers.
1. Opening ugly
Mistakes and miscues cost the Jets on the defensive side of the ball, especially early in the game. Against one of the better and more efficient offenses in the league, the Jets seemed poised for an early stop on the San Diego opening drive but linebacker Demario Davis jumped offsides on third down, gifting the Chargers a fresh set of downs. On the next play, quarterback Philip Rivers hit Malcolm Floyd over the top on a go-route for a 49-yard gain. It was the key moment in an 11-play, 90-yard drive that gave San Diego a 7-0 lead and set the tone for the game.
2. Offense was offensive
Geno Smith had just one completion in his first six passes as the offense punted on their first three possessions. Then running back Chris Johnson fumbled deep in their own territory on their fourth possession. There were plenty of penalties and the offensive line gave up plenty of pressure, but Smith didn’t help matters. He missed wide open receivers and got rattled early on. Smith was pulled at halftime after he completed just 4-of-12 passes for 27 yards and an interception. Michael Vick, who came in at halftime, didn’t fare much better but it was the first time that the veteran has thrown a pass in a game since the last week of preseason. With time, Vick should be sharper — if the Jets choose to go with him again.
3. Issues on defense
It’s not a real surprising statement, given the numbers on the scoreboard, but the Jets defense was just bad. They blitzed Philip Rivers to little or no effect. They failed to adequately stop a Chargers ground game that came into the game second worst in the league (69.5 rushing yards per game). Branden Oliver ended up going over 100 yards in the game and the Chargers had 162 rushing yards as a team. Missed tackles by safety Calvin Pryor and cornerback Dee Milliner — both on Oliver’s 50-yard pass and catch in the second quarter — killed the team. The defense was supposed to be the saving grace of this team. Instead, it was lost in an afternoon when the Chargers dominated things.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.