Final

Chargers 27

(6-9, 4-4 away)

Jets 17

(6-9, 3-5 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 23, 2012

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 7 3 14 327
NYJ 14 0 0 317

Top Performers

Passing: G. McElroy (NYJ) - 185 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Battle (SD) - 19 CAR, 49 YDS

Receiving: D. Alexander (SD) - 3 REC, 69 YDS, 1 TD

Chargers sack Jets' Greg McElroy 11 times in victory

ESPN.com news services

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Norv Turner was in a generous mood, awarding game balls to each one of his San Diego Chargers who sacked Greg McElroy.

Hope he stocked up on footballs.

Led by Kendall Reyes' 3½ sacks, the Chargers made things downright miserable for McElroy, taking him down 11 times and tying the team record while ruining the New York Jets quarterback's first NFL start in place of the benched Mark Sanchez in a 27-17 victory Sunday.

"A lot of those sacks weren't where they beat a guy quick and went," Turner said. "It was guys staying relentless and staying after the quarterback. You're playing a young quarterback. You'd like to be able to pressure him and disrupt it."

That's exactly what San Diego did. Shaun Phillips had 2½ sacks, Corey Liuget added two more, and four other players helped the Chargers (6-9) finish one short of the NFL record set by a handful of teams, last by the Giants in 2007.

With Turner and general manager A.J. Smith facing uncertain futures -- and lots of speculation that they'll be out after the season -- it was a dominant effort by the defense with one game left. San Diego also had 11 sacks against Dallas in 1986.

"The game plan was definitely was to get pressure on him, sack him and make him nervous," Liuget said, "and make them want to run the ball."

McElroy, the third-stringer, moved the offense for the Jets (6-9) early but faced pressure all game. With a chance to get New York back into it with less than 5 minutes remaining, McElroy was taken down by Phillips -- the Chargers' eighth sack of the game -- and lost the ball. Phillips recovered and San Diego sealed the win, but not before sacking McElroy three more times.

"I'm disappointed," McElroy said. "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."

McElroy, the team's seventh-round pick out of Alabama last year, became the first Jets quarterback to be sacked 11 times since David Norrie by Dallas in 1987, a game played by replacements.

"It was great on their part," said Rex Ryan, guaranteed his first losing season as Jets coach, "but ridiculous on our part."

With most of the pregame drama centered around whether Sanchez or Tim Tebow would back up McElroy -- turned out, it was both -- Philip Rivers threw touchdown tosses of 37 yards to Danario Alexander and 34 yards to Antonio Gates to lead the Chargers.

It was the 82nd touchdown catch of Gates' career, snapping a tie with Lance Alworth for the franchise lead.

"The San Diego Chargers have had unbelievable production in the passing game with great players in the passing game," Turner said. "He's a very special person and a very special player. I've been fortunate to be around Hall of Fame guys who have done some incredible things. He's right up there with them."

After Gates caught his milestone touchdown, the entire offense celebrated with him in the end zone.

"There is no better feeling than to score and have 10 other guys run up to you and congratulate you," Gates said.

Rivers was a modest 11 of 22 for 165 yards, while McElroy finished 14 of 24 for 185 yards with an interception and the lost fumble. Both offenses struggled, though, as San Diego went 2 of 12 on third downs, while New York was 2 of 11. But the Chargers' defense bailed out Rivers and the offense.

"That's awesome," Rivers said. "It was certainly fun to watch them when they're rolling like that."

Ryan had Sanchez and Tebow active for the home finale, the first time all three quarterbacks were available for a game. Both were listed as the backup on the team's flip card in the press box.

Ryan announced after the game that McElroy would start the season finale next Sunday at Buffalo.

The Jets ran the Wildcat a handful of times -- but with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley instead of Tebow, who stood on the sideline the entire game without getting a snap. Sources told ESPNNewYork.com that Tebow was so frustrated when the starting job was given to McElroy that he told the coaches he didn't want to be used in any Wildcat packages against the Chargers.

Several times throughout the game, with the defense on the field, McElroy and Sanchez often sat with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, while Tebow was off to the side talking with other teammates.

"Obviously, (the season) didn't go as we thought, as I had hoped," Tebow said.

Moments after McElroy jogged onto the field to big cheers from a half-filled MetLife Stadium, there were loud boos as Micheal Spurlock took a punt 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Chargers up 7-0 just under 2 minutes into the game.

It was the first punt returned against the Jets for a touchdown since Oakland's Phillip Buchanon took one 78 yards in 2003 -- a span of 150 games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The Jets came right back, though, to tie it at 7 on Shonn Greene's 1-yard touchdown run -- two plays after McElroy nearly ran it in from the 8 but was ruled down just short of the goal line.

After a three-and-out by San Diego, Greene plowed in for another 1-yard score to give New York a 14-7 lead. It was the first time the Jets had at least two touchdowns in the opening quarter since 2009 at Oakland.

The Chargers opened the second half with a 37-yard touchdown catch by Alexander that gave San Diego a 17-14 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

Game notes


The Jets held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the Connecticut shootings last Friday, and had banners on the sidelines that read "S.H.E.S" for Sandy Hook Elementary School. ... Chargers rookie S Brandon Taylor was carted off the field in the third quarter after injuring his right knee. Jets DB Ellis Lankster left in the second half with a concussion.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SD
NYJ
1st Downs1518
Passing 1st downs
811
Rushing 1st downs
36
1st downs from penalties
41
3rd down efficiency
2-122-11
4th down efficiency
1-10-1
Total Plays5659
Total Yards223225
Yards per play4.03.8
Total Drives1312
Passing136156
Comp-Att
11-2215-25
Yards per pass
5.24.3
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-2911-71
Rushing8769
Rushing Attempts
3023
Yards per rush
2.93.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Penalties5-536-40
Turnovers02
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession30:0929:51

Passing Leaders

SDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rivers11/221657.5204-29
NYJC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McElroy14/241857.70111-71
Kerley1/14242.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

SDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Battle19492.609
Brown5316.209
NYJCARYDSAVGTDLG
Greene14382.7212
McElroy4256.3015

Receiving Leaders

SDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Alexander36923.0137
Gates24422.0134
NYJRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gates36521.7042
Greene24221.0030

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSDNYJ
sdTD13:16Micheal Spurlock 63 Yard Punt Return (Nick Novak Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 63 yds, 0:00
1014
nyjTD9:24Shonn Greene 1 Yard Run (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 83 yds, 3:41
77
nyjTD4:16Shonn Greene 1 Yard Run (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 58 yds, 3:28
714
SECOND QUARTERSDNYJ
sdFG8:36Nick Novak 51 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 50 yds, 6:54
1014
THIRD QUARTERSDNYJ
sdTD11:18Danario Alexander 37 Yard Pass From Philip Rivers (Nick Novak Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 81 yds, 3:49
1714
sdTD1:42Antonio Gates 34 Yard Pass From Philip Rivers (Nick Novak Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 38 yds, 1:41
2414
FOURTH QUARTERSDNYJ
sdFG14:11Nick Novak 27 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 1:03
2714
nyjFG11:16Nick Folk 40 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 38 yds, 2:59
2717

Research Notes

Greg McElroy was sacked 11 times today. That is tied for the most sacks allowed in a single game by the Jets. They allowed 11 against the Cowboys in 1987. The Jets QB in that game was David Norrie.
  [+]
Greg McElroy: 2nd QB since the AFL-NFL merger to be sacked 11 times in 1st NFL start (other: David Norrie, 1987 Jets during strike)

ESPN Stats & Information