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Chargers rack up 11 sacks in 27-17 win over Jets

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Chargers rack up 11 sacks in 27-17 win over Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) One after another, the San Diego Chargers barreled into Greg McElroy and slammed him to the turf.

A whopping 11 times.

That's a lot of bruises for the New York Jets' new - and sore - starting quarterback.

Led by Kendall Reyes' 3 1/2 sacks, the Chargers made things downright miserable for McElroy, tying the team record for sacks in a 27-17 victory Sunday.

``You don't do anything different, but you know it is going to be tougher for him because of his lack of experience,'' Reyes said. ``You just want to get in his face.''

That's exactly what San Diego did as Norv Turner awarded game balls to each one of his players that took McElroy down - and he sure needed a bunch of them. Shaun Phillips had 2 1/2 sacks, Corey Liuget added two more, and four other players helped the Chargers (6-9) finish one short of the NFL record set by a handful of teams, last by the Giants in 2007.

``A lot of those sacks weren't where they beat a guy quick and went,'' Turner said. ``It was guys staying relentless and staying after the quarterback. You're playing a young quarterback. You'd like to be able to pressure him and disrupt it.''

McElroy, the third-stringer, got the start for the Jets (6-9) in place of the benched Mark Sanchez. Rex Ryan announced after the game that McElroy will start in the season finale at Buffalo next Sunday.

He leapfrogged Tim Tebow on the depth chart, and the popular backup never took the field even though all three quarterbacks were active for the first time this season. Tebow also took no snaps in the team's wildcat package in which he is usually featured.

Tebow said ``it just happened'' that he didn't play in the package usually reserved for him, but ESPN New York reported that he actually asked out of running the wildcat earlier in the week because he was miffed he was passed over for the starting job, according to sources. The Jets used wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in the wildcat as Tebow remained on the sideline. Kerley completed a 42-yard pass to Clyde Gates out of the wildcat, and had a few other snaps out of the scheme.

``Well, it's been disappointing,'' Tebow said of the season. ``Obviously, it didn't go as we thought, as I had hoped, but sometimes in life you have that. Sometimes you have setbacks and you just have to look at them as another opportunity for you to step back up and keep working and figure out what to do.''

Meanwhile, with Turner and general manager A.J. Smith facing uncertain futures - and lots of speculation that they'll be out after the season - San Diego matched the team sacks mark set against Dallas in 1986.

``The game plan was definitely was to get pressure on him, sack him and make him nervous,'' Liuget said of McElroy, ``and make them want to run the ball.''

With a chance to get New York back into it with less than 5 minutes remaining, McElroy was taken down by Phillips - the Chargers' eighth sack of the game - and lost the ball. Phillips recovered and San Diego sealed the win, but not before sacking McElroy three more times.

``I'm disappointed,'' McElroy said. ``This team's goal was to finish 8-8 and win the last two games and we're disappointed we're going to finish short of that goal.''

McElroy, the team's seventh-round pick out of Alabama last year, became the first Jets quarterback to be sacked 11 times since David Norrie by Dallas in 1987, a game played by replacements.

``It was great on their part,'' said Ryan, guaranteed his first losing season as Jets coach, ``but ridiculous on our part.''

Philip Rivers threw touchdown tosses of 37 yards to Danario Alexander and 34 yards to Antonio Gates to lead the Chargers. It was the 82nd touchdown catch of Gates' career, snapping a tie with Lance Alworth for the franchise lead. After Gates caught his milestone touchdown, the entire offense celebrated with him in the end zone.

``There is no better feeling than to score and have 10 other guys run up to you and congratulate you,'' Gates said.

Rivers was a modest 11 of 22 for 165 yards, while McElroy finished 14 of 24 for 185 yards with an interception and the lost fumble. Both offenses struggled, though, as San Diego went 2 of 12 on third downs, while New York was 2 of 11. But the Chargers' defense bailed out Rivers and the offense.

``That's awesome,'' Rivers said. ``It was certainly fun to watch them when they're rolling like that.''

Micheal Spurlock took a punt 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Chargers up 7-0 just under 2 minutes into the game. It was the first punt returned against the Jets for a touchdown since Oakland's Phillip Buchanon took one 78 yards in 2003 - a span of 150 games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The Jets came right back, though, with two 1-yard touchdown runs by Shonn Greene to take a 14-7 lead.

The Chargers opened the second half with a 37-yard touchdown catch by Alexander that gave San Diego a 17-14 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

``Offensively, you're not beating anybody when you play like that,'' Ryan said. ``It's just hard to put into words. You get sacked 11 times, it's extremely frustrating. I expected a lot better, but that never happened.''

NOTES: The Jets held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the Connecticut shootings last Friday, and had banners on the sidelines that read ``S.H.E.S'' for Sandy Hook Elementary School. ... Chargers rookie S Brandon Taylor was carted off the field in the third quarter after injuring his right knee. Jets DB Ellis Lankster left in the second half with a concussion.

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Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 15, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking points

Here are the players who saw their stock go up against the Panthers on Sunday and others who saw their stocks drop. 

Stock up—A few days ago, CB Josh Norman was a penny stock. He had mixed up assignments in the blowout loss to the Saints and take a ton of criticism after the game, much of it warranted. During the Panthers game, he was a blue chip. Norman got his first interception in 20 games and he forced a fumble. There is still a lot of season to be played but for now, at least it’s good to be Josh Norman.

Stock down—They won the game and that’s the quarterback’s main job. But for the second straight game, Alex Smith did not play up to his $18.4 million cap number. He passed for 163 yards. At times you really wondered where he was throwing the ball and/or to whom he was throwing it. They were able to win thanks to Adrian Peterson’s rushing and three takeaways. To Smith’s credit, he protected the ball well and it should be noted he was without favorite targets, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder. Regardless, it was not a sharp performance by Smith. 

Stock upPeterson came into the game with an injured ankle, knee, and shoulder. Not only did he fight through the pain, he thrived. Six days after he rushed for just six yards against the Saints and sat out most of the second half, he picked up 97 yards on 17 carries, an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Peterson did rip off a 19-yard run but mostly it was three yards here, six yards there. It was what the Redskins were expecting when the signed him. 

Stock down—With Thompson out, Kapri Bibbs had his big chance to show what he can do. He didn’t do much. Bibbs, who was promoted from the practice squad earlier this season, picked up 11 yards rushing on two carries and he caught one pass for six yards. There were some high hopes for Bibbs among Redskins fans. For today, he didn’t live up to them. 

Stock up—I know that Daron Payne didn’t make a ton of plays and his streak of games with at least one sack ended at two. But he was part of a defensive front that held Christian McCaffrey, who came into the game averaging 82.3 rushing yards per game (fourth in the NFL) and 5.2 yards per attempt, to 20 yards on eight attempts, a 2.5 per carry average. And he made a remarkable play, which is becoming routine for him, when he made the tackle on a tight end who had taken a screen pass well outside of the numbers. He’s a special talent and his stock will continue to rise. 

The agenda

Today: Open locker room 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 3:00 

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Giants 13; Redskins @ Eagles 49

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What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

FEDEX FIELD -- Coming into Sunday's game, the Redskins listed Adrian Peterson as questionable for the game against the Panthers. 

And why wouldn't they?

The future Hall of Famer separated his shoulder last week in a loss to the Saints. In that same game, he got blasted in the knee on a play that many thought would cost Peterson the season. And before the Redskins bye, in a 120-yard effort in a win over the Packers, Peterson took a helmet directly off his ankle. 

Calling AP banged up for the Panthers game is unfair to banged up players. 

Peterson was hurt, from top to bottom. 

Yet, despite the injuries, he still went out and rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries, good for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. 

"I had already made up in my mind Friday, 'Hey, I'm going to give it a go,' and I know it's going to be painful but it's mind over matter and keep pressing," Peterson said following the 23-17 Redskins win. 

"So that's what I ended up doing."

In a remarkable endeavor, Peterson was the most consistent player on the offense. Alex Smith played fine but not necessarily good.

The Redskins offense needs more from Smith, but couldn't even ask for anything else from Peterson. 

"I can't say enough about what he did today, playing through the pain of the shoulder and the knee," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Peterson. "What a pro. What a pro he is."

In the second half, when the Redskins pass game really fell apart, Washington leaned on Peterson even more. It wasn't pretty, but the team got enough to eat up possession and pad the lead with field goals. 

"Adrian Peterson ran hard," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "I think he created the opportunity for them down the stretch to control the clock a little bit."

Rivera is right. 

Without Peterson, the Redskins probably don't win on Sunday. 

And it's even more remarkable that none of this was supposed to happen. The Redskins seemed reluctant to even give Peterson a tryout after rookie Derrius Guice went down in the preseason. Guice was the plan, and Peterson wasn't even really the backup.

Back then, Gruden explained that Peterson was simply too impressive in his August workout for the team to do anything but sign him to the active roster. 

Now, five games into the season, averaging well more than 4 yards-per-carry and on pace to lead the Redskins in rush yards, it's hard to imagine what Washington's offense would look like without Peterson. 

Sure, he's 33-years-old, but he's also the Redskins most consistent offensive threat. 

Asked what surprised him during his team's loss, Rivera inadvertently summed up the Peterson experience.

"I don't think there was anything surprising. They're a good football team. They run the ball extremely well with Adrian."

Rivera is right.

The Redskins run the ball extremely well with Peterson.

Even with the separated shoulder, the busted knee, the bruised ankle. On Sunday, the Redskins ran the ball extremely well with Peterson.

And that says a lot about Adrian Peterson. 

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