Jets “ridiculous” offensive line play gives team their ninth loss.
Florham Park, N.J.: Quarterback Greg McElroy couldn’t overcome poor offensive line play in his first career start in the NFL. The Jets offensive line gave up 11 (one shy of the NFL record) sacks in the 27-17 loss against the San Diego Chargers.
“It was great on their part, but ridiculous on our part,” said Rex Ryan.
“They were running some pretty good twist schemes in there that were pretty difficult, but we still have
to be able to pick them up,” said Nick Mangold.
McElroy completed 14 of 24 passes for 185 yards, lost a fumble and threw an interception. Shonn Greene had 38 yards on 14 carries and score both of the team’s touchdowns.
“This team’s goal was to finish 8-8 and win the last two games and we’re disappointed we’re going to finish short of that goal,” said McElroy. “We got to do a better job of getting on the same page and doing a better job of anticipating things and just doing a better job of getting the ball out. Gotta do a better job and try to improve, learn from this, watch the film and then come back on Wednesday ready to work.”
The Jets special teams unit put the team in an early hole by letting Michael Spurlock return the first punt of the game for a 63-yard touchdown.
McElroy and the offense responded quickly, marching down field with back to back big gains. After Greene gained 30 yards on a screen play, Jeremy Kerley had a 42-yard completion to Clyde Gates out of the wildcat. Greene ran in from a yard out to tie the game at seven.
The Jets continued to spread the ball around, getting Kerley, Joe McKnight and Braylon Edwards involved in their next possession. On third and seven just outside the Chargers’ 20-yard-line, Edwards drew a defensive pass interference call to put the Jets at the one-yard-line, where Greene barreled in for his second score.
After San Diego kicker Nick Novak connected on a 51-yard-field goal, McElroy started to take some hits from the opposing defense. In the last 8:32 of the second quarter, McElroy was sacked four times but never was separated from the football.
“I really didn’t get a chance to watch. I was out there running routes and by the time I turned back, Greg
was already on the ground,” said Edwards.
The Jets had a 14-10 halftime lead, but Phillip Rivers started the second half with an eight-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a 37-yard touchdown catch by Danario Alexander. The Jets offensive line continued to struggle as McElroy continued to take hits from a strong defensive defense. Rivers soon found Antonio Gates for a 34-yard touchdown pass after Gates shook loose from Eric Smith.
After being secure with the football for almost three full quarters, McElroy forced a pass towards the sideline to Gates that was intercepted with 10 seconds to go in the third quarter. The Chargers could only put up three points after the interception and led 27-14 with 14:11 to go in the fourth quarter.
McElroy connected with Edwards and Chaz Schilens before the drive stalled and the deficit was cut to down with a Nick Folk field goal. After getting the ball back, McElroy moved the ball to the San Diego 42 but was separated from the football after a Shaun Phillips sack. The Jets defense put up another three and out, but the offense line didn’t give McElroy a chance to spark a comeback.
On the Jets final drive with 3:30 to go, McElroy earned two first downs, but was then sacked on three consecutive plays to put the Chargers in double digits for the game.
“Offensively you ain’t beating anybody playing like that. It’s simple as that,” said Ryan.
“Again this was not our day. We didn’t play and execute in the matter that we’re capable of, but it’s our job
to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
“I want to learn from the mistakes made today and I want to learn and capitalize on the opportunities that were there today. I want to capitalize on those next week,” said McElroy.
“He’s a tough guy. He took some hits, which was disappointing, but he kept getting back up, so that’s a
good thing. I think he’ll be a good player,” said Mangold.
Quinton Coples continued his improved play, hitting the quarterback three times and earning one and a half sacks.
The Jets final game is against the Buffalo Bills and McElroy will get his second career start.
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