SAN DIEGO — Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and the rest of the San Diego Chargers simply left no doubt.
Frustrated by two gut-wrenching losses, the Chargers raced past nemesis Brett Favre and the New York Jets for a 48-29 victory Monday night in a wild game befitting two original AFL teams.
Rivers threw three touchdown passes, Tomlinson scored his first two TDs of the season and San Diego finally got back at Favre after all these years. They sacked him four times and intercepted him twice, including a 52-yard return for a score by All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
Favre always seemed to come up big on Monday nights with Green Bay. This night, though, he finally lost to the Chargers after beating them five straight times dating to 1993.
San Diego (1-2) looked like the team picked by many to reach the Super Bowl. The Chargers lost their opener to Carolina on the last play, then lost by one point at Denver in a game remembered for referee Ed Hochuli’s blown call that set up the Broncos’ winning score.
Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing champion, scored on a 2-yard leap to give the Chargers a 38-14 lead in the third quarter. He had been slowed since jamming his right big toe late in the Carolina game. He scored on another 2-yard run late in the fourth quarter, one play after Rivers’ 60-yard pass to Vincent Jackson.
Rivers has thrown three TD passes in every game this season. He was 19-of-25 for 250 yards on Monday, while Tomlinson had 67 yards on 26 carries, his third straight game under 100 yards.
Favre had three touchdown passes for the Jets (1-2), including fourth-quarter TD throws of 4 yards to Chansi Stuckey and 13 yards to Dustin Keller. The 38-year-old Favre was 30-of-42 for 271 yards.
The Chargers could have had two more picks, but safety Clinton Hart dropped Favre’s fourth-down pass in the end zone late in the third quarter and Cromartie let an interception and a sure touchdown clang off his hands in the first quarter. Cromartie intercepted backup QB Kellen Clemens in the end zone in the final minute.
The Chargers scored three times and the Jets once in a crazy span of 5 minutes, 46 seconds spanning the first and second quarters.