EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Los Angeles Chargers improved to .500 on Monday night, topping the New York Jets27-6 at MetLife Stadium. The Jets had their three-game winning streak snapped, as they were held without a touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers
In their most significant triumph of the season, the Chargers triumphed resoundingly over a lackluster Chicago Bears squad with a decisive score of 30-13 last week. On Monday night, the Chargers encountered the Jets, a team renowned for boasting one of the league’s most formidable defenses and victories against the likes of Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts.
The Chargers secured their second consecutive victory, primarily attributed to a blistering performance in the initial quarter. During this period, they amassed a commanding 14-point lead and showcased a formidable defensive front that prevented the Jets from mounting a substantial challenge.
A striking statistic from NextGen: Running back Austin Ekeler registered three drops on Monday night, marking the highest drop count in his professional career. Setting aside the drops, Ekeler delivered an impressive performance, notching two touchdowns and concluding with 47 yards in total offense. Ekeler had led the team in receptions the previous season, and his receptions often ignited significant offensive plays. Consequently, the Chargers (4-4) are fervently hoping that Monday’s drop count was merely an aberration.
A noteworthy positive development: Joey Bosa has accumulated 3.5 sacks in the past two outings. Bosa had endured a challenging period following a left big toe fracture suffered during the Chargers’ Week 3 triumph against the Minnesota Vikings, causing him to miss the subsequent game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Until the Chargers’ Week 8 victory over the Bears, his performance had failed to resemble his former self, recording just one sack. However, Bosa exhibited an exceptional resurgence on Monday, securing 2.5 sacks, the second-highest sack count in his career.
On the contrary, a disconcerting trend has emerged: Quarterback Justin Herbert has been sacked on ten occasions in the last three games. Herbert found himself with less than 2.5 seconds to release the ball on 40% of his dropbacks, as the Jets’ formidable defensive line consistently penetrated the Chargers’ offensive front throughout the contest. – Kris Rhim
Up next, the Chargers will face the Detroit Lions at 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.
New York Jets
Two hours before the game, Aaron Rodgers exhibited an extraordinary display of skill, launching 50-yard passes during warm-ups. This feat is particularly remarkable, considering he had undergone Achilles tendon surgery only two months prior. This marked the offensive highlight for the Jets on Monday night.
In the realm of the NFL, fortunes can change swiftly. During their recent three-game winning streak, the Jets were perceived as tenacious overachievers, thriving in a post-Rodgers era. However, in a sudden turn of events, they now appear to be a pretentious contender, plagued by the struggles of quarterback Zach Wilson.
The Jets (4-4) experienced a nightmarish game, losing possession through three fumbles, succumbing to eight sacks, and continuing their woes on third down, converting only 3 of 17 attempts. This dismal performance squandered another outstanding showing by their defense, which managed to record five sacks.
This narrative has persisted for the Jets over the past two seasons. Their offense has managed a meager eight touchdowns in eight games, with four of those touchdowns originating from one-play drives, one of which occurred under peculiar circumstances against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The persistent imbalance between their offense and defense, which undermined their previous campaign, threatens to undermine another year. Rodgers, initially hopeful for a late-season return if the Jets remained in playoff contention, may need to shift his focus to the year 2024.
Quarterback Breakdown: Wilson managed to evade interceptions for the fifth time in the last six games, offering a glimmer of hope. However, the downside was his failure to connect with open receivers and an evident inability to sense pressure in the pocket. He displayed a conspicuous lack of awareness regarding the Los Angeles defense, a unit that was ranked 31st against the pass that week. For Wilson, this performance mirrored his struggles from the previous season. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett experimented with an up-tempo approach at times to rejuvenate the lethargic offense, but to no avail. The possibility of coach Robert Saleh considering a quarterback change looms, but the available options, including unproven journeyman Tim Boyle and practice squad member Trevor Siemian, do not present appealing alternatives. Thus, the Jets may opt to persist with Wilson.
Concerning trend: The reconfigured offensive line grappled with issues, although there were mitigating circumstances. Rookie center Joe Tippmann made his inaugural start, Max Mitchell had his first outing at right guard, and Billy Turner filled in at right tackle. Turner’s performance was marred by conceding at least three sacks. It wouldn’t be surprising to witness further changes in the offensive line for the upcoming week, especially now that tackle Duane Brown is eligible to return from injured reserve.
Most Glaring Shortcoming in the Game Plan: Hackett placed excessive reliance on the passing game in the first half, underutilizing running back Breece Hall. Additionally, he frequently employed five-man protections, whereas the primary focus should have been on enhancing pass protection.
Decisive Moment: In a somewhat unusual gesture, the Jets paid tribute to Thomas Morstead, the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, during the pregame player introductions. However, this goodwill gesture took an unfortunate turn when Morstead’s booming 59-yard punt outstripped the coverage, leading to an 87-yard touchdown by Derius Davis. This early setback left the Jets in a 7-0 deficit from which they never managed to recover. – Rich Cimini
Up next, the Jets will face the Raiders at 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday.