Jets Upset Chargers In San Diego 17-14, Headed To AFC Championship

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Gang Green Nation: Jets Jolt Bolts, Now Face Colts

The Jets are going to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1998 season. Jets blog Gang Green Nation knows that the Jets might not be the best team on the field next week, or even today, but they just keep winning.

I’m sure the Francesa’s of the world will say San Diego lost this game, and the Jets didn’t win it. That’s part of the reason I felt confident going in. The Chargers have a glass jaw. The second the Jets made a big play, San Diego melted down. Their quarterback started screaming at the officials after they made a proper call in favor of the Jets. They made a bunch of stupid penalties. Their kicker who is shaky in big spots was shaky in big spots. The lack of composure showed why I think Norv Turner is a bad coach who got lucky to fall into a situation with so much talent. The Jets on the other hand were composed and executed. I’m not sure they are a better team, but they were the best team on the field today.

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Jets 17, Chargers 14: New York's Defense Stymies San Diego's Offense

Read and react more to Sunday's game at our Chargers blog, Bolts From The Blue, and our Jets blog, Gang Green Nation

San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Shonn Greene's 53-yard touchdown scamper midway through the fourth quarter proved to be the difference, as the Jets defense stymied the high-octane Chargers offense just enough to steal a 17-14 decision in an AFC divisional playoff meeting at Qualcomm Stadium.

With a dominating second half performance and thanks in part to three missed field goals from San Diego's Nate Kaeding, New York won the right to face the top-seeded Colts next Sunday in the AFC championship game in Indianapolis. That's where the Jets earned a 29-15 win back in Week 16, when the then- undefeated Colts rested their starters in the second half.

Greene, who rushed for 135 yards and a score in last weekend's wild-card win over the Bengals, ran for 128 yards on 23 carries to add to his rookie lure in New York, which has won consecutive playoff games for the first time since the 1982 season.

Mark Sanchez wasn't asked to do much but tossed a go-ahead fourth quarter touchdown to Dustin Keller and ended with 100 yards and an interception on 12- of-23 efficiency for the Jets.

The real difference-maker was the Jets' defense, which held the Chargers to a season-low point total and just 61 yards rushing.

Philip Rivers rushed for a touchdown and tossed another to Kris Wilson but had two costly interceptions for the Chargers, who fell to 2-5 in their last seven divisional round contests. Rivers had 298 yards passing, 111 of which went to Vincent Jackson and 93 to Antonio Gates.

Kaeding, who missed a 40-yard field goal in overtime in a 2004 first-round playoff loss to the Jets, added to his postseason misery with an 0-for-3 effort on Sunday.

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Bolts From The Blue: Sanchez Will Be Under Fire

If the Jets are to continue their hot-streak, Mark Sanchez will need to play like a vet, not a rookie. The Chargers offense will score points. The Jets defense will probably slow them down some, but they’ll still score. Dallas held them to their season-low of 20 points, and they averaged 28.4 points on the season. The Jets offense will need to match it, and it won’t all come from the running game. So can Sanchez get it done? Bolts From The Blue doesn’t think so.

When the Jets have the ball, the advantage lies in the hands of the Chargers. Again, that’s just my belief, but it’s supported by the fact that the Chargers have been a pretty stable defense this year. For all the yards they’ve given up, and all of the random drives where they’ve slipped into “soft zone” and looked terrible (twice against the Browns), this is not a defense that gives up a ton of first downs or a ton of points to opposing offenses.

On top of that, it is a defense that can be a bit confusing. Corner blitzes, Safety blitzes and a mad genius MLB in Stephen Cooper means that there’s a good chance Mark Sanchez may not know where the blitz is coming from when it’s coming. I like that.

Rookie QBs are usually in that group of players that get five times worse when the playoffs come around, and I think that trend will continue on Sunday.

They reason that Sanchez played a banged-up defense last week, one that was too predictable and rarely blitzed. Things will be different in San Diego.

Video: Chargers defensive action.

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Gang Green Nation: Antonio Gates Is A Matchup Nightmare

The New York Jets defense, along with the running game, is what drove the Jets this far in the playoffs. It’s hard to run on them, and Darrelle Revis basically shuts down one-third of the field in the passing game. So they are well-stocked in talent to battle an explosive offense like the one they’ll see in Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. Except, there might be one tiny flaw that could be telling in the game, how do you cover all-world TE Antonio Gates?

Gang Green Nation:

Antonio Gates, TE for the Chargers, represents a match up nightmare for the Jets. Normally, the strong safety position is responsible for covering the tight end, but, as the guys at ESPN noted, New York Jets SS Jim Leonhard is only 5′8″ which does beg the question…can Leonhard cover him? While I believe Rex [Ryan] will scheme for this scenario, most seem to believe that Gates will be the difference maker that allows for San Diego to move onto the AFC Championship.

Video: Evidence of the size-factor, even the reporters are as tall (or taller) than Leonhard.

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Bolts From The Blue: Bring On The Blitz

Bolts From The Blue takes a hard look at the stats from both the Jets and the Chargers, just to see how they compare. Using plenty of advanced stats, they come to the conclusion that the Chargers are a superior team and the Jets will have to create some sacks, turnovers and penalties to upset San Diego. Turns out, that’s just how the Jets defense operates. Rex Ryan is an attack-dog in defensive philosophy, so expect Gang Green to bring the blitz, like they did to the Bengals. BFTB concludes that should be no problem for Philip Rivers.

If [the Jets] want to win, they’re going to have to take away what the Chargers do best, and that’s throw the ball. They’ll have to knock Philip around and pick off a couple passes. The problem is that they’ll have a hard time doing that. Rivers threw only 9 interceptions this year, four of which were on tipped balls. After taking a bit of a beating the first five games, Philip has taken very few sacks in the last 11. These things are a result of the offensive line blocking better, the Chargers gameplanning better, and Rivers just being better in the pocket. That probably won’t stop Rex Ryan from trying, though. As I pointed out in my film review, Ryan threw blitz upon blitz at Carson Palmer. There’s little to suggest he won’t do the same thing to the Chargers—that’s how their defense operates. If I had to guess, I’d say that Rivers and Turner are hoping he does exactly that. Philip has been phenomenal against the blitz this year, and the Chargers’ pair of offensive masterminds have probably dreamed up numerous fun ways to hammer the Jets when they try to rush 5 or more.

Video: Nothing to do with the game, but seriously, how awesomely cheesy is this cut from LT?

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Gang Green Nation: Who's The Top Dog In Jets Backfield?

The New York Jets have relied on their running game to carry them into the second-round of the NFL playoffs. New York ranks first in rushing yards per game in the 2009 regular season at just over 172 yards. Veteran back Thomas Jones has played a large role in that success, but is he still the top dog in the Jets running back rotation? Jones rushed for 1402 yards this year, but rookie Shonn Greene has been making his presence felt recently. Enough to warrant this article from Gang Green Nation. Jones has a bruised knee, but will play; still, is Greene now the man?

At this point, one could argue Shonn Greene has taken over the leading role in the backfield. The coaching staff has been increasing his load since the Colts game. The only time it really diminished was when he gave the Jets a reason to sit him Week 17 with a fumble against the Bengals even though a penalty wiped it out.

Truth be told, Greene is a better runner right now. His power allows him to fight through tackles better, and he has a bigger burst when he turns on the second gear. TJ has a better reputation. The Jets surely can use him. I’m just not sure he’s the top dog right now.

Video: Shonn Greene burns the Bengals.

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