Mark Sanchez and His Jets Fly Past Chargers: New York To Face Indy for AFC Title

Tucker SargentContributor IIIJanuary 17, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets attempts a pass against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez and the visiting New York Jets upset the San Diego Chargers 17-14 Sunday afternoon in the AFC Divisional Playoff game in front of an announced crowd of 69,458 at Qualcomm Stadium.

San Diego (13-4) started the day's scoring with a 13-yard touchdown strike from Philip Rivers to Kris Wilson early in the second quarter.

A defensive struggle ensued for the rest of the quarter, with the teams trading possessions and heading into the locker room with the Chargers up 7-0.

New York (10-7) drove 31 yards on their first possession of the second half but was held to a field goal as Jay Feely nailed a 46-yarder to bring the deficit to four.

The rest of the third quarter was a pick fest. Sanchez was intercepted by San Diego's Quentin Jammer before Rivers threw it right back to the Jets' Darrelle Revis. 

Following a punt that pinned the Chargers at their own two yard line, Rivers again threw an interception.

This one proved costly, as the Jets' Dustin Keller eventually reeled in a two yard pass from Sanchez as the fourth quarter started to put his team on top 10-7.

After a San Diego punt on the next possession, Jets tailback Shonn Greene blasted the Chargers for a 53-yard touchdown run to extend the New York lead to 17-7.

The Chargers would then drive to the Jets' 22-yard line before Nate Kaeding missed his third field goal of the day.

Prior to the Sunday's game, Kaeding had made 20 straight field goals and 67 straight from inside the 40.

San Diego would finally manage a touchdown with 2:20 remaining, as Philip Rivers scampered in for one yard to bring the Chargers back to within three.

But the onside kick attempt failed, and the Jets made history.  The win marks the first time New York has won two postseason games since 1982.

The Jets will travel to Indianapolis next week to take on the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship.

Indianapolis (15-2) advanced to the AFC Championship with a decisive 20-3 win over the Ravens on Saturday.

The two teams collided earlier this season, with the Jets taking a 29-15 victory over the Colts in a controversial game in which Colts head coach Jim Caldwell sat most of his starters to rest them for the playoffs.

The difference in that game and next weekend's?

The winner of this one will go to the Super Bowl.

Young Sanchez will face the task of leading his hot squadron of Jets into Indy's Lucas Oil Stadium—one of the National Football League's toughest venues for visiting opponents.

The AFC Championship kicks off Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3:00 PM ET and will be televised nationally by CBS.

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