In the Jets 28-24 comeback win over Buffalo, QB Mark Sanchez was just 17-35 for 180 yards. He threw an interception out of his own end zone that led to a Bills TD. He also threw a few others that were almost picked. He also threw 4 touchdowns including the game winner with 1:00 left. On a season saving drive that including other key completions. Maybe this dual personality is the essence of Mark Sanchez at this stage of his career. A player who may not be consistent, but can be there to help engineer the comeback win.
Much of the blame for any of the Jets troubles is put on the shoulders of Sanchez on a weekly basis. It was the Jets defense on Sunday though that let the Bills without star Fred Jackson, drive down the field and chew up the clock too often. For three seasons in fact, the defense has lacked a heavyweight knockout puncher who can end games with blindside uppercuts.
The rushing attack since the Ground and Pound thrived in 2009, has not been the home of a solid 100 yards per game rusher either.That’s why every play Sanchez makes, is delivered under the most high powered microscope that exists in the Big Apple. The Jets leave him little room for error.
Located in this scrutiny are missed opportunities to open receivers and a handful of dangerous choices each week. Sometimes a visible lack of confidence on the face of number six as well.
Yesterday though, the Jets franchise signal caller kept his cool. The Jets followed his lead, and came from behind with Sanchez at the helm yet again.
Yet even when they do pull one out, it’s never enough. Jets fans want more out of him. Rex Ryan naturally does too. The Jets HC even predicts Super Bowl appearances with the “Sanchise” at the helm. This while he gives a rusty 41 year old QB, reps in practice. A move designed to light a fire under Sanchez that brings with it the cryptic message of what COULD happen should the struggles continue .
Both the ultra high bar set by the diehards and Lombardi Trophy visions that Ryan has created, have added the pressure of expectation that Mark Sanchez could never have truly envisioned the magnitude of. Back during his initiation to it all in 2009. As he entered the world of pro football after just one year of major college playing experience.
The fans and the Jets themselves may simply have to accept that Sanchez has faults, but important strengths as well. Pluses that often lack currency in fantasy football, but translate into valuable traits on the field and in the standings.
For now he may only be at his best in spurts, but Mark Sanchez has proven that he can engineer late game winning drives. Regardless of what the first 55 minutes or so bring. Then there’s his playoff record. One that already includes four wins. All having come on the road. Where one big gaffe can end an entire season.
It may not look pretty throughout, but Mark Sanchez unlike those who habitually LOSE games in the final minutes, can find ways to win them. After almost three seasons as a NFL starter, THIS is what Mark Sanchez is. A player with a range of emotions and imperfections, who owns a winner’s ability to be clutch by getting hot when the money is on the line