Derius Davis returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown, Austin Ekeler ran for two scores and Joey Bosa and Los Angeles’ defense stifled Zach Wilson and the New York Jets’ bumbling offense in the Chargers’ 27-6 victory on Monday night.
Justin Herbert didn’t make much of an impact, finishing 16 of 30 for just 136 yards, but became the fastest player in NFL history to 1,500 completions as the Chargers (4-4) snapped the Jets’ three-game winning streak.
Keenan Allen had eight catches for 77 yards to reach 10,000 career yards receiving. Los Angeles, who forced four New York (4-4) fumbles and recovered three of them, sacked Wilson eight times, including 2.5 by Bosa and two each by Khalil Mack and Tuli Tuipulotu.
Wilson, who wasn’t helped by a porous offensive line, and the Jets couldn’t get anything going despite facing the NFL’s worst-ranked passing defense. Wilson was 33 of 49 for 263 yards while taking a step back in his development.
“Was it his best game? Obviously not,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said of his quarterback. “Was it his worst game? No, I’m not going to say it was even close to his worst game. I think the entire offense could have been better.”
After the Jets went three-and-out on their opening drive, Davis gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead when the rookie fielded Thomas Morstead’s punt near the right sideline, avoided a tackle, cut inside and took off for an 87-yard touchdown return. It was the longest punt return in the NFL this season, and the Chargers’ first punt return for a TD since Desmond King brought one back 68 yards against Denver in 2019.
The Jets moved the ball on their next drive, helped in part by a roughing the passer penalty on Bosa – the first such call in New York’s favor since 2021. But Garrett Wilson lost a fumble on the next play on a hit by Alohi Gilman, with Derwin James recovering.
Los Angeles couldn’t take advantage of that takeaway, but did so after Bosa strip-sacked Zach Wilson and recovered the fumble on the Jets’ next drive.
From the Jets 21, Ekeler slipped two tackle tries and zipped downfield and into the end zone and celebrated a touchdown – but was ruled out at the one-yard line. He got into the end zone again two plays later, but it was negated because DJ Reed was called for defensive offside. Ekeler celebrated again – and it counted this time – on the next play when he punched it in to make it 14-0 with 2:45 left in the opening quarter.
Greg Zuerlein’s 47-yard field goal cut the Jets’ deficit to 14-3 with 5:57 remaining in the first half. Cameron Dicker’s 55-yarder as time expired made it a two-touchdown lead again for the Chargers heading into halftime.
Dicker’s 38-yarder in the fourth quarter made it 20-6 on a drive helped by a circus catch by Allen, who fully extended to reach for a high throw and snagged it with his left hand before corralling the ball with both hands as he rolled to the turf for a 23-yard reception on third-and-four.
Ekeler ran it in from two yards out to make it 27-6 one play after Mack had a strip-sack of Wilson and Gilman returned it 48 yards to set up the sealing score.