Bryce Petty, making his second start this season in place of the injured Josh McCown, struggled all game. He missed open receivers and repeatedly flexed his right hand, which he banged up early on. But he remained in the game, going 15 of 28 for 119 yards and an interception.
Bilal Powell was the bright spot for the Jets’ offense, rushing for 145 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown, on 19 carries.
Los Angeles took a 7-0 lead with 8 minutes 55 seconds left in the first half on Gates’s 3-yard touchdown catch, capping a 12-play, 71-yard drive.
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen intercepted Petty’s desperation toss to end the first half. It was the first career interception for Allen, who was tackled by Brandon Shell, the Jets’ right tackle. Shell injured his head on the play and was replaced by Brent Qvale in the second half.
The Chargers had a chance to increase their advantage early in the third quarter, but kicker Nick Rose, signed earlier this week, was wide right on a 47-yard field-goal attempt.
The Jets took advantage of the miss to tie the score on Powell’s long touchdown run.
Los Angeles regained the lead quickly, however, on Gordon’s 1-yard run. Gordon hit a hole and pushed over the goal line with strong second and third efforts.
The Chargers’ Travis Benjamin returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter — but it was nullified by a holding penalty on Nick Dzubnar. Instead, it went down as a 14-yard return for Benjamin.
The Jets had a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes, getting a roughing-the-passer call on Joey Bosa to help extend their drive. But on fourth-and-7 from the Chargers’ 17, a heave from Petty to Robby Anderson in the end zone with 3:07 left fell incomplete.
In the coin toss to start the game, the Jets won, but deferred — and then pulled off a successful onside kick.
The Jets became the second team this season to attempt an onside kick to open a game, joining Tennessee (Week 1). The Jets are also the first team to successfully recover an onside kick in the first 30 seconds since Philadelphia in Week 17 of the 2012 season, according to N.F.L. Research.
The Jets came away without any points, though, because an offensive pass interference call on Anderson and a sack by Tenny Palepoi short-circuited their drive.
An earlier version of this article included a picture caption that misidentified a Chargers receiver. He is Mike Williams, not Sean McGrath.
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