Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Jets quickly shoot down San Diego's wild-card charge


Chad Pennington's shoulder held up well enough to throw Marty Schottenheimer and the San Diego Chargers right out of the playoffs.

Pennington, bothered for the last five games by a strained rotator cuff, moved New York into range for Doug Brien's 28-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in overtime and the Jets shocked the Chargers 20-17 in a wild-card game Saturday night.

The winning drive started on the Jets 30 after Chargers rookie Nate Kaeding was wide right on a 40-yard field goal try with 4:19 left in overtime. It included an 18-yard pass from Pennington to Moss that was upheld on review.

The Jets celebrated wildly while Schottenheimer walked across the field with a far-off look on his face.

And just like that, Schottenheimer still can't win in the playoffs. Named the Coach of the Year earlier in the day, he suffered his fifth straight playoff loss dating to 1993 with the Kansas City Chiefs and fell to 5-12 in his career, which also included a stop in Cleveland.

Schottenheimer's teams have gone one-and-out eight times.

Pennington threw two touchdowns for the Jets, who led 17-7 late in the third quarter and should have won in regulation.

But the Chargers forced overtime when All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Pro Bowler Drew Brees to tie it at 17 with 11 seconds left in regulation.

It came one play after Jets linebacker Eric Barton was whistled for a personal foul for hitting Brees on the helmet with his right forearm after Brees threw a desperation pass on fourth-and-goal that was batted down in the end zone. As Brien kicked the winning field goal, Barton sighed in relief.

Pennington, who's led the Jets to three straight wins in San Diego dating to 2002, was 23-of-33 for 279 yards. Brees was 31-of-42 for 319 yards.

Pennington threw a go-ahead, 47-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss early in the third quarter.

His second TD pass of the night, it went at least 55 yards in the air and Moss caught it 2 yards deep in the end zone after getting behind safety Jerry Wilson and cornerback Quentin Jammer, giving the Jets a 14-7 lead.

The Jets ended a five-game road playoff losing streak. The last time they won on the road was Jan. 15, 1983, when they beat the Los Angeles Raiders 17-14.

The Chargers were undisciplined, including their coach.

Schottenheimer was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for running onto the field after punter Mike Scoffers took a dive in the second quarter.

Rams 27, Seahawks 20

In Seattle,Washington, Marc Bulger threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns, the last a 17-yarder to Cam Cleeland with 2:11 to play, leading the St. Louis Rams to a 27-20 win over Seattle and making St. Louis the first 8-8 team to win in the playoffs.

Bulger directed a seven-play, 76-yard drive after Jeff Wilkins tied the game at 20 on a 27-yard field goal with 8:07 to play Saturday. Bulger mixed his passes to seven receivers, and hit two on the decisive drive who hadn't caught a pass all day.

The Rams, who will travel to Philadelphia or Atlanta for next week's divisional round, took over at their 24 with 5:42 to play.

Bulger got a 31-yard gain on third-and-2 with a swing pass to Shaun McDonald -- his first catch -- then found Kevin Curtis for another 13 yards. Cleeland's TD was his first catch of the day, too, putting St. Louis up 27-20 with 2:11 on the clock.

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