CB Antonio Cromartie (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
San Diego’s secondary allowed Brett Favre to complete more than 71 percent of his passes. The Chargers’ special teams allowed Leon Washington to average 39 yards per kickoff return. But the way Philip Rivers is playing, none of that mattered. The Chargers ran away with a 48-29 win over the Jets.
San Diego’s plan to start fast fell short for a third consecutive week as Philip Rivers’ first pass was intercepted by David Barrett and returned 25 yards for a TD. Luckily for Rivers, the Chargers are well versed in adversity after starting the season 0-2.
The Chargers' offense responded to the turnover with resilience, scoring on each of its next five drives. Mixed into that scoring spree was a 52-yard pick-six by Antonio Cromartie, which served as a catalyst for the primetime blowout.
Cromartie added a second interception late in the game, while Eric Weddle also contributed his first pick of the season.
No player was more impressive than Rivers, who completed 19 of 25 passes (76 percent) for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Rivers has thrown for three touchdowns in every game this season, allowing the Chargers to average more than 35 points per contest.
Through three weeks, Rivers leads the NFL in passer rating at 124.8. The next closest quarterback is Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals with a 111.7.
The Chargers didn’t enjoy as much success on the ground, although it was encouraging to see LaDainian Tomlinson handle 29 touches on his injured toe. Tomlinson was limited to 2.6 yards per carry, but he managed to pound in two rushing touchdowns in the second half. The Chargers are now 32-5 when Tomlinson rushes for two or more touchdowns.
On defense, the Chargers authored their first multi-sack game of the season. Shaun Phillips picked up his first sack late in the first half to knock the Jets out of field goal range, while Jyles Tucker added his first two sacks of the season in the second half.
The secondary allowed Brett Favre to pile up the yardage (271) yet managed to play bend-but-don’t-break defense until the game was out of reach. Ted Cottrell’s unit only allowed one offensive score through the first three quarters, and the Jets only had to move 5 yards to get there thanks to a 94-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington.
In fact, the special teams were the only glaring chinks in San Diego’s armor. Washington returned kickoffs for 94, 45 and 31 yards, with the last one coming with an unnecessary-roughness penalty for good measure. The Chargers only have six days to get ready for the Oakland Raiders, but rest assured, Norv Turner will find time to get in extra special teams work before the Chargers head up the coast.