EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Los Angeles Chargers did their part, so their unlikely postseason bid remains intact.
Bidding to become only the second team since the 1970 merger to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start, the Chargers beat the New York Jets 14-7 Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
Los Angeles has won five of its past six but looked to be dead after a 30-13 loss in Kansas City on Dec. 16. Things looked shaky against the Jets (5-10), but Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers made clutch passes, running back Melvin Gordon carved up New York's front seven, and the defense, despite giving up long runs to Bilal Powell, bent but did not break.
The Jets drove to the Chargers' 17-yard line with 3:11 to play, with an assist from Joey Bosa's questionable roughing-the-passer penalty, but Bryce Petty's fourth-and-7 pass to Robby Anderson fell incomplete.
Newcomer Nick Rose, the Chargers' fourth kicker this season, missed a 47-yard field goal wide right in the third quarter, and the Jets capitalized when Powell took a toss left 57 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with 10:00 left in the period. However, Rivers led the Chargers on a season-saving drive, capped by Gordon's 1-yard touchdown run.
Gordon went 28 yards on the first two plays of the drive, and then Rivers completed three passes for 50 yards, the last a 23-yard strike to tight end Sean McGrath to set up the Chargers on the 2-yard line. Rivers finished 22 of 40 passing for 290 yards and a touchdown.
The Chargers opened the scoring with a 3-yard pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates with 8:55 left in the second quarter. It was the 87th Rivers-to-Gates touchdown connection, the most for a quarterback-tight end combo in NFL history.
With nothing to lose, the Jets started the game with some trickery. Chandler Catanzaro opened with an onside kick, recovered by rookie Marcus Maye at the New York 48-yard line. However, the ensuing drive did not produce points after Anderson's offensive-pass-interference penalty negated a 38-yard pass to the Los Angeles 2-yard line.
NOTES: Chargers LB Korey Toomer, starting in place of the injured Denzel Perryman, had his first sack of the season. ... Chargers TE Antonio Gates had a 27-yard reception in the second quarter, his longest of the season by 11 yards. ... Los Angeles LB Hayes Pullard had the first fumble recovery of his three-year career. ... Chargers WR Keenan Allen picked off a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half, the first INT of his career. ... Los Angeles QB Philip Rivers eclipsed 4,000 passing yards for the ninth time in his career and ninth time in the last 10 seasons. ... Chargers RB Melvin Gordon went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his three-year career. ... Jets RB Bilal Powell has three runs of 50-plus yards this season, all at home. ... New York RB Matt Forte lost his first fumble since Week 7 of last season. ... The Jets' onside kick was their first successful one to start a game since 2012.