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NY Jets commence fumble-fest vs. Chargers, trail 17-3 at halftime

Garrett Wilson, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers
Garrett Wilson, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Getty Images

A pair of fumbles and a critical special teams blunder have the New York Jets trailing the Chargers by two touchdowns

The Los Angeles Chargers struck the end zone twice in their Monday night showdown against the New York Jets, taking a 17-3 lead on Gang Green at intermission of their “Monday Night Football” showcase at MetLife Stadium.

Derius Davis opened scoring for Los Angeles on an 87-yard punt return for a score, while Austin Ekeler scored from a yard away to close out an eight-play drive that accounted for 50 of the Chargers’ 87 yards in the first half. Los Angeles also added a 55-yard field goal from Cameron Dicker as time expired.

Despite a strong defensive effort, the Jets have only been able to counter with a 47-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein.

Jets (3)

PASSING: Zach Wilson (14-of-23, 81 yards, 1 fumble lost)
RUSHING: Breece Hall (9 carries, 36 yards)
RECEIVING: Xavier Gipson (2 rec., 32 yards)

Chargers (14)

PASSING: Justin Herbert (10-of-21, 87 yards)
RUSHING: Austin Ekeler (7 carries, 26 yards, 1 TD)
RECEIVING: Austin Ekeler (2 rec., 23 yards)

Ball Drop

If the Jets are trying to fumble an opportunity to make up major ground in the race for the AFC East, one can’t argue that they’re writing an appropriate script: the unrelated Wilsons, Garrett and Zach, have lost one each and the defense can only account for so many offensive no-shows. The “Any Given Sunday” mantra the Jets have embraced for the second half of the season implies that the only team beating the Jets is the Jets. So far, that’s definitely the case.

Clean Laundry

MetLife’s Monday volume peaked when the Jets were the shocking beneficiaries of a roughing-the-passer call. Officials have made sure to counter it with five calls against them, but the Jets have at least been timely with them, as that group has lost only 15 yards. It’s easy to pick up pass interference calls against the speedy Chargers, but the pass rush has done its part to make sure Herbert is, at the very least, uncomfortable.

Austin’s Power

It should go without saying that the Jets’ offense needs to step it up but the defense has done its job perfectly with one exception: stalling Austin Ekeler. In addition to scoring the Chargers’ lone offensive touchdown of the night, the primary rusher has also been targeted four times, albeit with only one 17-yard catch before the two-minute warning. The second will be a big opportunity for the front seven, namely John Franklin-Myers and Quincy Williams, to have a showcase on national television as they try to get the ball back from the bruising Ekeler, who will likely be relied upon if the Chargers learned any sort of lesson from the first half.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on X @GeoffJMags

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