SAN DIEGO — OK, so maybe the New York Jets aren't that bad, after all. And maybe the San Diego Chargers aren't quite that good.
At any rate, the reeling Jets got better in a hurry with a 44-13 rout Sunday of the AFC-leading Chargers, who came dressed in their powder-blue throwback jerseys and left looking like powder puffs.
The stunning victory came a week after the Jets (3-5) blew an 18-point lead in a 24-21 loss to Cleveland, prompting defensive end John Abraham to harshly criticize the conservative play-calling.
"Just getting a win was good for us, just to put a lot of negatives behind us," Abraham said. "We're trying to build a season now. A lot of people put us in the dirt right now. We know we're a better team than we've shown."
Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin and Santana Moss scored first-half touchdowns and the Jets went on to post their highest point total since a 48-21 win over Carolina on Nov. 29, 1998.
The Chargers (6-2) came in tied with Green Bay for the NFL's best record but were never in this game, despite coming off an open date that allowed players like Junior Seau and Marcellus Wiley to get healthy.
"We didn't come out here ready to play," said LaDainian Tomlinson, who was held to 60 yards in 12 carries. "We took these guys for granted."
Said Coach Marty Schottenheimer: "I didn't get the message across, but I made it very clear throughout the week that this was a very formidable football team."
It was San Diego's worst defeat since losing 42-10 at Kansas City on Sept. 17, 2000 -- the season in which the Chargers went 1-15.