Winning on the road is tough

Jonathan Vilma learned how hard it is to win on the road in the Jets' Week 2 victory over the Chargers.

Updated: September 21, 2004, 12:53 PM ET
By Jonathan Vilma | Special to

I'm resting now after a hard fought game against the Chargers. The veterans told me before we went to San Diego that winning on the road is tough in the NFL no matter who you are playing and I just got a taste of it Sunday. We won 34-28, but we had to withstand two rallies by the Chargers who refused to give up.

Jonathan Vilma
New York Jets
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
4 3 1 0 0 0
We actually flew out to San Diego on Friday instead of the usual Saturday for away games. Coach Herman Edwards wanted us to get used to the time change as much as possible. I felt it Friday night when it was 8 p.m. on the West Coast and I was looking for my bed to sleep in.

This was a big test for us, particularly the defense in stopping LaDainian Tomlinson. Watching him for the past couple of years and then finally seeing him on film, I knew it would be a great challenge to try to stop him. He's about 40 percent of their offense and coming in we knew that the Chargers offense would go as Tomlinson went.

Again, the atmosphere was great. I know it was an away game, but it still gets me excited when the fans start cheering (booing in this case) for us or against us.

We started fast putting up 14 quick points in the first quarter and building a 17-0 lead. Defensively, we were doing exactly what we wanted against them. We accounted for LaDainian every play and eliminated the big play.

But unlike college, teams don't fold as easily in the NFL. I'm still trying to figure out whether that is a fortunate thing or not. I would go with fortunate for now because it keeps the game exciting from start to finish. But every time I thought we would stick the dagger in them, the Chargers would rip off a big play to get the crowd going again and put themselves back in it.

In the end though we fought long and hard for that victory. Coach told us to enjoy every win because they're hard to come by and I see what he means. We can breathe easier on this bye week with a 2-0 record and then we have to get ready for the Dolphins in Miami (Oct. 3 ). It will be my homecoming which I'm definitely looking forward to.