Dwight Lowery is looking to put a rough game in San Diego a year ago behind him.
And, perhaps most of all, the Jets cornerback remembers getting picked on all night long — as a rookie playing in his third NFL game — by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.
"That was the first game where I was like, ‘Wow,’ " Lowery said this week. "I was a rookie; they were going after me a little bit. I responded to the challenges a few times, but they also got a couple big plays on me. You remember that."
Filed in his memory are a 6-yard TD pass Antonio Gates caught that night, a play Lowery said he knew was coming, but as soon as he turned around, the talented tight end already had the ball. Then there was the 60-yard play Lowery gave up to receiver Vincent Jackson, on which Lowery said his own technique was "horrible."
Lowery will have another go at the Chargers’ fifth-ranked passing game when the teams meet in Sunday’s divisional playoff game — this time 16 months and 27 games the wiser. Asked if he has a desire to vindicate himself with a strong performance, Lowery acknowledged, "You do."
It's kind of hard to believe that Monday night game was just last season. Think of how different this Jets team is from the one that took the field Week 3 of 2008.
Lowery is going to get his chance on Sunday. Even with Donald Strickland likely to return to the lineup, Dwight will have a key role. I'll touch on it more when I preview the passing game matchup, but the Jets are going to throw plenty of looks at the Chargers to try and confuse Philip Rivers. Given how anemic San Diego's run game is, New York will have plenty of chances to use subpackages with extra defensive backs. Since Antonio Gates adds next to nothing as a run blocker, he'll likely be matched up with corners part of the time. Gang Green can afford to take a linebacker off the field to deal with Gates. Dwight should be in the mix there.