Marion Butts ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns to help the San Diego Chargers rout the sloppy New York Jets, 39-3, yesterday in East Rutherford, N.J. It was the Jets' worst game since Bruce Coslet became coach this season.
The Chargers (2-4) used an overpowering pass rush and superb special teams. Butts made up for early-game failures from the Jets 1 with bulldog precision.
The Jets (2-4) failed miserably in all aspects. Their offense, ranked first in the conference, was invisible, and their defense was porous.
The Chargers quickly got two breaks, but couldn't capitalize. Punter Joe Prokop dropped the snap and, when he tried to run, was hit and fumbled at the end of the Jets' first possession. The Chargers took over on the Jets 19.
With a second down from the 4, Billy Joe Tolliver dropped the snap, and Erik McMillan picked it up. As he began to run, he fumbled and Tolliver fell on it at the 6.
But the Jets, led by middle linebacker Kyle Clifton's three tackles, held inside the 1, with converted tight end Rod Bernstine being stacked up on fourth down.
The Chargers got two points when Ken O'Brien was sacked -- for the second time in four plays -- by Burt Grossman in the end zone.
The comedy of errors continued at the other end. Prokop's free kick after the safety was short and Darrin Nelson slipped as he came up to field it. The ball bounced over him and he lost control when he caught up with it. Michael Mayes recovered at the 14.
The Jets also couldn't convert on short yardage as O'Brien threw through the end zone on third and 1 from the 5. Pat Leahy then kicked a 22-yard field goal.
Buccaneers 26, Packers 14: In Tampa, Vinny Testaverde, the NFL's top-rated passer, threw for a season-high 292 yards and Wayne Haddix returned one of the Buccaneers' five interceptions for a touchdown.
Testaverde completed 17 of 29 passes, including a 14-yard scoring throw to Ron Hall that gave him eight touchdowns against only two interceptions in 1990.
The victory before a crowd of 67,472 allowed the Bucs (4-2) to remain unbeaten (4-0) against NFC Central Division rivals. Green Bay (2-4), which had six turnovers, lost for the fourth time in five weeks.
Don Majkowski, who's struggled since ending a long contract holdout, threw for 355 yards and one touchdown for the Packers, but the interceptions he threw helped Tampa Bay build a 26-7 lead and thwarted Green Bay's effort to come back.