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Jets 27, Chargers 21

Burress busts out for Jets

Plaxico Burress snags the third of his three TD catches. The Jets receiver finished with four receptions for 25 yards. Plaxico Burress snags the third of his three TD catches. The Jets receiver finished with four receptions for 25 yards. (Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)
By Dennis Waszak Jr.
Associated Press / October 24, 2011

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - One trip into the end zone wasn’t enough for Plaxico Burress.

Neither was two.

One touchdown catch after another, Burress had the big breakout game he and the New York Jets had been expecting.

The veteran wide receiver tied a career high by catching three TD passes, including the go-ahead score that was set up by another interception by Darrelle Revis, as the Jets stormed back in the second half to defeat the San Diego Chargers, 27-21, yesterday.

“Every morning you wake up on Sundays and you want to be great,’’ said Burress, who has been slow to develop a rapport with quarterback Mark Sanchez. “I had to let the game come to me. I think I’ve been forcing it. But this was them saying, ‘He’s been working hard, we’ll stick with it.’

“The fans pay money to come see you do well, and I felt for the past few weeks I was not playing well. This is gratifying.’’

Leading, 21-17, the Chargers appeared to be driving for a possible game-sealing score when Philip Rivers threw to Vincent Jackson and the ball tipped off the receiver’s hands and right to Revis, who returned the interception 64 yards to the Chargers’ 19.

“It was a big play,’’ said Revis, who thought cornerback Antonio Cromartie also got a piece of the ball.

Revis had two interceptions, including a 100-yard touchdown return, in the Jets’ 24-6 win last week against the Dolphins.

After a few runs by Shonn Greene and a defensive holding penalty - the Chargers’ 11th penalty in the game - Sanchez found Burress on a slant for a 3-yard touchdown to give the Jets (4-3) the lead for the first time with 8:41 remaining.

San Diego turned it over again on its next possession when the Chargers (4-2) faced a third and 6 from their 41 and Kyle Wilson picked off Rivers for the first interception of his career.

Nick Folk’s 30-yard field goal with 1:36 left made it 27-21. San Diego had one last shot for a winning drive, but couldn’t really threaten.

“It’s our fault,’’ Chargers tight end Randy McMichael said. “You can ask any question you want to ask. The San Diego Chargers beat the San Diego Chargers. Nothing to do with the New York Jets. It’s embarrassing.’’

With the win, the Jets headed into their bye week with two straight wins - both at home - after a three-game road losing streak. They also are off to their first 4-0 start at home since 2004.

“I feel like we’re hitting our stride right now,’’ coach Rex Ryan said.

Sanchez finished 18 of 33 for 173 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Burress finished with four catches for 25 yards, but he provided the red-zone presence the Jets hoped he’d be when they signed him as a free agent after he served 20 months in prison on a gun charge.

“He had three TDs,’’ Ryan said with a grin. “Not bad.’’

Greene had a season-high 112 yards on 20 carries.

The game had some added spice when Ryan created a coast-to-coast stir when he said he would’ve won a few Super Bowl rings if he had been hired as the Chargers’ coach in 2007. That job went to Norv Turner, who shot back at Ryan when he asked if Ryan had those rings stored with the ones he has guaranteed with the Jets.

The two shook hands after the game and had a brief but cordial conversation.

“Before the game, I thought I could get him inside, work the body,’’ Ryan joked. “Obviously, my chin is not so good. Again, it was unintentional and unfortunate. I have so much respect for Norv.’’

The Chargers jumped out to an early lead and would have been up by a bunch if not for their mistakes. San Diego, coming off its bye, was called for a whopping 13 penalties.

Mike Tolbert gave San Diego a 21-10 lead with 1:16 remaining in the first half on a 1-yard touchdown run.

New York was impressive on its second possession of the second half, capping a 10-play drive with Burress’s 4-yard touchdown catch that made it 21-17 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.

“We put our defense in a hole early, it felt like,’’ Sanchez said. “We almost spotted them 14 points.’’

Donald Butler gave the Chargers an early 7-0 lead when he ripped the ball out of the hands of New York tight end Dustin Keller and scored on a 37-yard fumble recovery.

New York appeared to take a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter on a 23-yard touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes, but the score was negated by a holding penalty on center Nick Mangold. Two plays later, Eric Weddle picked off a pass that set up Antonio Gates’s 2-yard touchdown catch with 12:11 left in the first half. Gates, who missed three games with a flare-up of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, finished with five catches for 54 yards.

The Jets came right back as Burress caught a 3-yard touchdown pass with 7:18 left in the opening half to make it 14-10. The Jets were helped by four Chargers penalties - two pass interference calls and two offsides - on the drive.

“This,’’ Revis said, “was a must-win for us.’’

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