The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals played arguably the ugliest football game of the 2012 NFL Season. Ultimately the Jets escaped with a 7-6 win but the story is Rex Ryan’s decision to finally bench Mark Sanchez…in favor of Greg McElroy. Considering how today’s game was going, Rex had no choice and there is no going back now. Sanchez is like The Sopranos…it is over…find a new show.
From the first play of the game when he threw a brutal interception, Sanchez looked completely lost out there. The team was lifeless with him and the game was there to be taken, thanks primarily to Ryan Lindley being the worst quarterback to ever take a snap in the NFL (10/31, 72 yards, 1 INT!). Making the switch to McElroy brought a shot of life to the offense, which promptly scored a touchdown. Outside of a back shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley to convert a third down, McElroy didn’t make any special plays. Yet, he steadied the offense and brought a much needed energy to the huddle.
There is no need to go crazy and crown McElroy as the next Joe Montana after a 5/7, 29 yard performance (which the New York media will inevitably do) but for right now, he can protect the football and manage a run heavy offense. The Jets were effective with the 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell (12 carries, 58 yards) and Shonn Greene (24 carries, 104 yards) and had an encouraging performance from Stephen Hill who had 5 catches. This is still not a good football and a team devoid of talent on offense but they should be able to compete, if not win their remaining four games.
Big picture – There is no reason not to stick with McElroy at this point. It is very clear the Tim Tebow trade was 100% a PR move orchestrated by Woody Johnson. Rex Ryan never had an interest in playing him. Mark Sanchez looks completely finished as a New York quarterback. Mentally and physically he looks defeated. There is no going back to him. See what McElroy can do with these last four games and if he could be a viable competitor next summer for an open quarterbacking job with a veteran who is brought in. At this point, it is worth wondering if the Jets will eat Sanchez’s guaranteed money and just get him off the roster in 2013.
This was an important day for Rex Ryan, who finally held Sanchez accountable for his poor play. It was likely too late and there are still major issues all over this roster…don’t allow a 7-6 win over a terrible team make you forget that. Regardless, Sanchez’s time as this team’s franchise quarterback is now officially over.