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Third Quarter Proves Pivotal for San Diego Chargers

Posted Dec 23, 2012

The San Diego Chargers scored 14 points in crucial 15 minute span.

Going into halftime of Sunday’s game, the New York Jets led the San Diego Chargers 14-10.

It turned out it was the last time New York would lead as the Bolts outscored the Jets 17-3 in the second half to grab the 27-17 victory.

The third quarter proved to be the difference in the game. San Diego went from being down four points to up by 10 after the Chargers outscored the Jets 14-0 in the period.

Photo Gallery: Chargers vs. Jets | Gates' History of TD's | More Photos

After winning the toss, but choosing to defer, the Chargers began the second half with the ball on their own 19-yard line. After two consecutive first downs, the Chargers faced 3rd-and-six near midfield before converting on a 10-yard pass to tight end Antonio Gates. Three plays later, quarterback Philip Rivers found wide receiver Danario Alexander in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown. The touchdown was the sixth of the season for Alexander and gave the Chargers a three-point lead. The drive took eight plays and covered 81 yards in just less than three minutes.

On the ensuing possession, the Jets went three-and-out, surrendering momentum and the ball via punt. New York faced a third-and-three at its’ own 39-yard line, but quarterback Greg McElroy was stopped short of the first down by defensive end Corey Liuget.

The Chargers got the ball back with 8:20 left in the quarter, but after getting two first downs, were forced to punt after the drive stalled.

The Jets were once again stopped cold, as McElroy was sacked twice on New York’s next possession, once by defensive end Kendall Reyes and once by Liuget.

After a Jets punt was returned 21 yards by Micheal Spurlock into New York territory, Rivers found tight end Antonio Gates over the middle for a 34-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The score not only extended San Diego’s lead to 10, but was the 82nd of Gates’ career, passing Lance Alworth for the franchise’s all-time lead in touchdown receptions.

Things only got worse for the Jets, as McElroy’s 3rd-and-10 pass was intercepted by strong safety Corey Lynch and returned to New York’s 19-yard line with 10 seconds left in the quarter. As a result, Nick Novak knocked in a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth to give the Chargers a 27-14 lead.

“Our team is playing pretty good on the road,” Chargers head coach Norv Turner. “We kind of group together and create a positive energy. When we’re at home, there hasn’t been a positive energy. We’re looking forward to getting back home and playing the (Oakland) Raiders and I hope we can create a positive energy when we get home. Our guys responded today.”

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