Sanchez Breakdown: One at a Time

Rob Celletti with a breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s performance against the St. Louis Rams

Stat line: 15/20, 178 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 75% completion pct., 118.3 QB Rating

Season Stats: 168/314, 2,038 yards, 11 TD, 9 INT; 53.5 completion pct., 73.4 QB Rating

We’ve gotten to a point – and maybe rightfully so – where Mark Sanchez can do no right in the eyes of some Jets fans. Yesterday, Sanchez played a smart, effective, efficient, well-rounded game. He was sharp, confident, decisive and consistent through four quarters. He played turnover-free football. Yet, lots of chatter on Twitter and the like after the game was, “MEH, SANCHEZ STILL SUCKS.”

I’m not here to be reductive, and as a matter of fact, analyzing Mark Sanchez is the same thing as analyzing the Jets’ season. At this point, you have no choice but to take it one game at a time. So regardless of how you feel about the Jets quarterback in a big-picture sense, you can’t deny that he played well yesterday. That was good enough to get a floundering team to 4-6 and keep the lights on for at least three more days.

The Best: Our esteemed editor has pointed out the pump fake as one of those infuriating Sanchez habits that needs to be broken. Yesterday though, Sanchez looked comfortable and under control in the pocket. The pump fake wasn’t a frantic sign of indecision, but rather a tool Sanchez used to move safeties and wait for the play to develop down the field. The touchdown throw to Chaz Schilens was opened up by a feigned screen into the right flat. Sanchez pumped, the defense bit, and Schilens got open behind the defense. The Jets scored a touchdown on a similar play in week 1 against Buffalo.

Perhaps the most encouraging part of yesterday’s game for Sanchez was that on more than one occasion, he went through his progressions and found his second or third receiving options. One of Sanchez’s glaring weaknesses has been tunnel vision and staring down his primary receiver, but he made strides in the right direction in that area yesterday.

The Worst: Very little went wrong for Sanchez yesterday, though they did need a little bit of luck early on. Sanchez was sacked and stripped on the first drive of the game, but the ball bounced right back into his waiting arms. Disaster averted.

The Key Moment: The Jets were up 13-7 and driving late in the third quarter when they faced a 3rd and 3 from the Rams’ 23 yard line. Off of a playaction fake, Sanchez looked to his right for Stephen Hill on a quick slant, but pulled the ball down and instead dumped it in the left flat to a wide open Konrad Reuland. How many times have we seen Sanchez double-clutch in that situation, only to not get rid of the ball and take a sack? Instead, a simple dump off pass to his safety valve led to Bilal Powell’s first touchdown three plays later. When you hear coaches and quarterbacks talking about “positive plays”, this is exactly what they mean. Credit Sanchez for being patient here, getting 18 big yards, and setting up a key score.

So now, Sanchez needs to do it again, in three days. Yesterday’s success is no indicator of future performance, and like the team, Sanchez will be evaluated one game at a time.

Sanchez Breakdown: Toxic

Rob Celletti with a breakdown of the failures of both Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets

Before I get to Sanchez – which I will keep brief anyway – I’m going to abuse my power as a writer for this site to talk about the Jets as a whole.

I will never forget the text message I got from my father, a Jets fan since the Titans days and a season ticket holder since the 1970s, the day after Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the Jets. It read: “Rex Ryan 4 year deal: 9-7, 10-6, 8-8, 4-12, Bye bye.” I laughed. My father’s cynicism has certainly thickened with age, but deep down I thought: no one knows this team better than him.

And here we are, in year four, with the Jets stumbling towards another disaster and another rebuild. The ship is rudderless, the problems run deep, and indeed, the Jets are now 3-9 in their last 12 games with Rex Ryan at the helm. Blame Sanchez, blame Tannenbaum, blame whoever you want. The bottom line is that this is a bad football team, which routinely gets blown out in a league that is structured so that basically every game comes down to the final possession. When that’s happening, to paraphrase the great Mike Francesa: YOU STINK, and it ain’t just the quarterback.

But here’s what bothers me most about all of this: people are enjoying it, and those who love the Jets are even more guilty than those who hate them. Ever watch Jets Post Game Live? SNY is a breeding ground for the toxic atmosphere that constantly surrounds this team, as guys like Ray Lucas, Kris Jenkins and Adam Schein (a Giants fan, by the way) can’t wait to pile on after every game, win or lose. Remember, this fan base ran Chad Pennington out of town, and now they’re relishing in the impending round of public executions. The people who wore Tebow jerseys to the opening day game against Buffalo are a symbol of everything that’s wrong with this organization.  It is untenable for any type of long-term success.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying the Jets don’t deserve to be lambasted, nor that people shouldn’t lose their jobs after this season ends. I don’t expect anyone to try and be positive after another 20-plus point loss. But what this team needs is a change in culture…again. Rex Ryan seemed to bring that in 2009 and 2010, but at this point, how is this any different than the Eric Mangini or Herman Edwards eras? The only person who changed the Jets in a meaningful way was Bill Parcells, a first ballot Hall of Fame football mastermind with more clout than anyone else who has ever been associated with this cursed franchise. Anyway, let’s move on and critique the latest performance by THE SANCHISE.

Good lord. I’ve never played quarterback at a level higher than backyard signal-caller on Thanksgiving, and even I would have known to throw the damn ball out of the back of the end zone (was Stephen Hill open underneath the goalposts, by the way?) on the killer goal line interception. Was there any doubt that the game was lost after that play? If there was, Jeremy Kerley’s muffed punt sealed it anyway.

One of the great things about writing for a site like this is the connection you make with other Jets fans. I’ve really come to respect the opinion of Steve Hunter (@SportsGeek33 on Twitter, give him a follow if you haven’t already). His level-headed, fact-based commentary is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise badly polluted discourse when it comes to the Jets’ beleaguered quarterback. Steve made a comment during yesterday’s game that Sanchez’s faults are ingrained. At this point, it’s hard to disagree with this, as the sack-fumble in the fourth quarter yesterday proved. Hasn’t Sanchez been sacked enough times at this point to know not to try and throw it when he’s in the defender’s grasp? I guess not.

I have written thousands of words defending this quarterback, and now I’m spent. The statistics show regression, the eye test shows worse: a player who has no chance of succeeding in his current situation. The shame of it is that the Jets had a real chance to develop Sanchez into a good NFL quarterback after 2010. He was trending in the right direction. But the lack of support in terms of coaching and skill position players, not to mention the acquisition of Tim Tebow, combined with Sanchez’s own shortcomings have doomed this plan.

So of course, Sanchez will go somewhere like Arizona once he’s released and lead them to a division title, right? That would be SO Jets.

Sanchez Breakdown: Head Check

Rob Celletti provides his weekly breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s performance

Stat Line: 28/41, 328 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception – 90.3 QB Rating, 68.3 completion percentage

Season Stats: 116/218, 1,453 yards, 9 touchdowns, 7 interceptions – 74.6 QB Rating, 53.2 completion percentage

I’m starting to develop a love/hate relationship with this column. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing about the Jets, I love participating in the Great Ongoing Quarterback Debate, and in general, it’s been a fun exercise. But yesterday’s game – and the sport in general – is about so many more things than the play of Mark Sanchez. Anyone who places the blame for yesterday’s loss solely on the quarterback needs to have his or her head examined.

The truth is this: if Mark Sanchez plays the way he did yesterday for the rest of the season, the Jets are probably going to win at least 6 of their remaining 9 games and make the playoffs. Does this absolve him of the interception? No. But 25 quarterbacks have competed thus far in Week 7 of the NFL season, and 15 of them threw at least one interception (Joe Flacco and Eli Manning threw two apiece! Gasp!). Interceptions are part of the game, and by the way, Sanchez’s did not lead directly to points against the Jets. Was the game-ending fumble really his fault? Or do Jets fans need to suck it up and credit Rob Ninkovich for blowing through the Jets’ line and making a game-sealing play? Where was this play by a Jet linebacker moments earlier, when they had a chance to seal the game themselves? But I digress. You know how this goes…

The Best: Sanchez engineered one of the drives of his career to get the Jets within a field goal in the 4th quarter. A drive that started on the 8 yard line was set back by a false start penalty, so in reality, Sanchez drove the Jets 96 yards in 14 plays in just under 7 minutes. The 7 route he completed to Jeremy Kerley on 3rd and 3 from the 32 is just another example of an elite-level NFL throw that Sanchez executed perfectly. Even when plays broke down, Sanchez made the right decision, such as his check down to Lex Hilliard three plays after the Kerley first down to keep the chains moving. Basically, Sanchez did everything that a good NFL quarterback needs to do in a key spot. He was calm, accurate, and most importantly, he finished the drive, and did so with a flourish, throwing an absolute dart into a tight window for the Dustin Keller touchdown. The comeback was on.

The Worst: While I fall on the side of the debate that generally comes to Sanchez’s defense, I feel as though I’ve been pretty fair in my criticism of his shortcomings. He still has at least two or three head-scratching moments every game, which is difficult to explain for a fourth year quarterback. But some quarterbacks never shake these moments from their games (see Romo, Tony; Cutler, Jay) and fans will need to learn to live with them. The interception was bad for several reasons: 1) the ball was thrown way too late after Sanchez had pump-faked to the other side of the field; 2) it was severely under-thrown; 3) Sanchez had at least two other places he could have gone with the ball to pick up positive yardage. Not only did he miss a touchdown, he gave away possession cheaply.

The Jets were also unable to finish drives. Again, there is more than enough blame to go around (conservative play-calling, Stephen Hill‘s drop, etc.), but Sanchez was a damn good red zone quarterback last year, and the Jets only scored two touchdowns yesterday in their four trips inside New England’s 20. There were certainly points left on the field by Sanchez and the offense yesterday, which is immensely frustrating.

Here’s the undeniable truth: Mark Sanchez handed the Jets a 26-23 lead with 1:37 remaining in this game. I understand that he has his critics, and the debate has become a little bit like politics; no matter what is said or what happens, people have chosen which side of the fence they‘re on and have dug in to staunchly defend that position. Still, the people who blame yesterday’s loss solely on Sanchez are being unrealistic and unfair. If you’re going to bash Sanchez for his mistakes, you have that right, but credit him when he deserves it – and his second half performance yesterday deserves a ton of credit. If you want him replaced, then I’d like to ask: by whom?

Yesterday’s performance was good enough for the Jets to win. Unfortunately, the narrative surrounding this team and this quarterback has a lot of people believing otherwise.

Sanchez Breakdown: Efficient, Sufficient

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance against the Indianapolis Colts

Stat line: 11/18, 82 Yards, 2 touchdowns – 109.0 QB rating, 61.1 completion percentage

Season stats: 88/177, 1,125 Yards, 8 touchdowns, 6 interceptions – 70.9 QB rating, 49.7 completion percentage

To start this week’s breakdown, why not hear it from Mark Sanchez himself?

“A good running game, a good defense with three takeaways and a good special teams. Those are all a quarterback’s best friend.”

Damn right, Mark! This is a team game, and Sunday’s game was a great example of how, despite being the most important position in football, the quarterback simply cannot be asked to win every single game on his own – especially when he’s working with a patchwork stable of skill players. The Jets’ revived rushing attack enabled to Sanchez to keep the game simple, and also afforded him some holes to throw into in the red zone.

The Best: People who are quick to dismiss Sanchez seem to forget that last year, he was one of the best red zone quarterbacks in the NFL. This season though, Sanchez has committed a few backbreaking, game-changing turnovers with the Jets on the doorstep. Yesterday, “Good” Sanchez made a return inside the 20. Both of the touchdown throws illustrated that Sanchez is a more-than-capable player at this level. The Stephen Hill score showed great patience by Sanchez and a rapidly developing chemistry with his rookie wideout, as it appeared that Hill’s route was originally supposed to take him across the back of the end zone. Seeing that the left corner was vacated, Hill broke the route and gave Sanchez a target, which he did not miss (this, by the way, is another throw that the other quarterbacks on the Jets roster cannot make: Tebow lacks the accurace, McElroy the arm strength). The Jason Hill touchdown was an easy pitch and catch which displayed good arm strength and accuracy from Sanchez (and no J.J. Watt to tip the pass at the line of scrimmage).

The Worst: In such a blowout, being negative on any part of the quarterback’s game would be nitpicking. The bottom line is that Sanchez just needed to be efficient. The Colts didn’t pose much of a threat offensively, and the Jets had established dominance on the ground. Some people might be irked by the fact that the Jets had two consecutive three and outs to open the 3rd quarter. The passing game also lacked any sort of downfield element, which it absolutely needs going forward.

The Key Moment: Eric Mangini (yes, I just went there) used to speak of playing “complementary football,” which was his ludicrous way of saying that good play on defense leads to good offense, which leads to good special teams, and around and around we go. This was on display yesterday. When Antonio Cromartie intercepted Andrew Luck in the 2nd quarter, the Jets were only up 7-3.  Starting with the ball on the Colts’ 35, the Jets simply had to convert that turnover into a touchdown, to put an inferior opponent and its rookie quarterback behind the 8-ball. Sanchez only had to complete two passes on this drive, but one was a key 12 yarder to Chaz Schilens on 3rd and 6. Again, being held to a field goal here maybe keeps the Colts in the game, but the Jets scored a touchdown and were on their way to a much-needed rout.

The Jets took care of business at home against a below-average Colts team. 82 yards from Sanchez will not be enough next week to beat New England. The Jets had success throwing long against the Texans and throwing short, intermediate and in the red zone against the Colts. They will need a complete performance from Sanchez to pull the upset. He showed he could do it in Week 1, but consistency has always been the issue for #6, so we’ll see what he comes up with in Week 7.

Sanchez Breakdown: Passing Grade?

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance last night

Stat line: 14/31, 230 Yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions – 54.5 QB rating, 45.2 completion percentage

Season stats: 77/159, 1,043 Yards, 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions – 66.6 QB rating, 48.4 completion percentage

Last week, I eviscerated Mark Sanchez in this space, and rightfully so.  But if last week was time for a rant, then this week is time for some rationality.

Mark Sanchez was inconsistent last night, but he played more than well enough to keep his job. Rex Ryan is famous for overhyping his players in press conferences, but last night he said that Sanchez played better than the numbers indicated, and I agree with him. Amazingly, the mainstream media tacitly agreed with Ryan, as no one stooped to the absurd level of asking about Sanchez’s job security. Sanchez was in a pass or fail situation, and he passed.  Was he graded on a curve last night? Absolutely, and he should be. When fans are furiously checking Twitter to get injury updates on Clyde Gates, how much blame can really be placed at the feet of the quarterback?

The Best: There was a lot of idiocy cascading down from the stands at MetLife Stadium last night after every incomplete pass, which was frankly infuriating. What these boo-birds failed to realize is that Sanchez actually made some excellent throws in this game; throws that Tim Tebow couldn’t make in a backyard game in Gainesville. The touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, the seam route to Jeremy Kerley, the deep cross to Cumberland.  These are NFL level throws that Sanchez executed with aplomb that require a proper read, sound mechanics and timing. In the NFL, if your quarterback can’t make these throws, you just aren’t going to win many games. It’s a passer’s league, period. As is the case throughout his career, Sanchez has shown flashes of ability – the oft-repeated line of course is, “he can make every throw” and he can – but has failed in the consistency department.

The Worst: The Jets had success throwing the ball down the field last night, but struggled mightily in the short passing game.  This is what is so frustrating about watching Sanchez. For every perfect downfield touch pass or frozen rope that pierces zone coverage, he skips a 4-yard out pattern or overthrows a checkdown receiver. This partly explains why his completion percentage is so low. Completing a dump-off to a running back should be a foregone conclusion, but it is anything but in the Jets offense. These accuracy issues are likely a combination of many factors, and the Jets don’t exactly have the most dependable receivers out of the backfield, but if Sanchez doesn’t improve on the short stuff, expect the completion percentage number to remain ugly and the Jet offense to continue to stall.

The Key Moment: When a team is playing poorly as the Jets are, it seems like the worst mistakes always happen at the most crucial moments of the game. You can see where this is going.

The situation was 2nd and 5 from the Texans’ 12-yard line, with the Jets driving for a potential game-tying score heading into halftime. The Jets had just run a draw play for 5 yards and with 30 seconds on the clock and two timeouts, they kept the foot on the gas pedal as opposed to calling timeout, and set up a bread-and-butter play for Sanchez. For all of the short passing woes noted above, Sanchez has typically been reliable on the quick slant. Unfortunately, J.J. Watt stood between Sanchez, the Jets, and six points last night, and Brice McCain grabbed the tipped pass and changed the tenor of the game. Turnovers are going to happen no matter who the quarterback is, and it’s obviously unfair to fault Sanchez for this one last night, but he seems to have a knack for giving the football away in the worst possible moments.

As you know, we’re on a constant Mission to Civilize Jets analysis and discussion here at Turn on the Jets, and it’s important to manage the expectations in regards to Sanchez, given the talent (talent, ha!) that he’s now being forced to work with on offense.  At the same time, everyone is still waiting for him to put it all together, and maybe even carry this rag-tag team on his back and win them a game or two on his own. If you were in MetLife Stadium last night though, you realized that fairly or not, patience is wearing thin with the fourth-year quarterback.

Sanchez Breakdown: Jumping Ship?

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance on Sunday…you could imagine how this went

Stat line: 13/29, 109 Yards, 1 interception – 39.9 QB rating, 44.8 completion percentage

Season stats: 63/128, 813 Yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions – 69.6 QB rating, 49.2 completion percentage

Last week, I joked that I wouldn’t abandon the format of this particular article.  Well today, I’m not in a joking mood.  To try and pin down individual moments in this game would be skirting a more pressing issue: the fact that Mark Sanchez might be less than a month away from his last action as a New York Jet.  Seriously. It’s time for a good, old-fashioned rant. So as The Joker once said: here…we…go!

Let’s get some things out of the way in as few words as possible. Mark Sanchez had a snowball’s chance in hell at succeeding this year. Everything the Jets did in the wake of last season’s meltdown set this quarterback up to fail. The contract extension rang hollow, because days earlier, the Jets got very publicly into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Then they traded for Tim Tebow.  Then, as we tore days off the calendar in March, and April, and May and June, we wondered, will the Jets address their needs? Are they really going into this season with one proven NFL weapon in Santonio Holmes? What about depth at running back and tight end? Was Wayne Hunter actually going to see another snap on Sanchez’s offensive line? Mike Tannenbaum’s negligence on the offensive side of the ball is a fireable offense.

All of that said, Mark Sanchez has been 50 shades of awful. In the modern NFL,  completing less than 50% of your passes one time is bad enough. To do it three weeks in a row is unconscionable. It was both laughable and painful watching other teams around the league executing in the passing game with such ease. The 49ers are talented defensively, but as our own Chris Gross Tweeted last night, it would be nice to root for a quarterback that fans don’t need to make excuses for every week. Brandon Weeden kept the Browns competitive, on the road, against a good defense on Thursday night. Ask yourself: could Mark Sanchez have done the same?

The Jets have absolutely no rhythm or tempo on offense.  Sanchez’s fundamentals have gone into the toilet; everything that looked picture perfect about his play in week 1 has all but evaporated. He was intercepted on a screen pass. When receivers got open (a rarity), he missed them, and not just by inches, but yards. The sack-fumble at the end of the first half is the kind of mistake that happens to a first or second year quarterback. Unfortunately, Sanchez is in his fourth season.

And really, that was the moment that changed things for me.  Look back through my archives on this website. I have defended Mark Sanchez endlessly; his triumphs were always vindicating, his failures always a result of his inexperience, or a lack of execution by his teammates. In the end, what separates truly good players from the below-average ones, at any position in any sport, is consistency. I’ve made the case that I never believed in Shonn Greene because if you look through his game logs, he has almost never played two good games in a row in his career. If you apply that logic to Mark Sanchez, you can draw the same conclusions.  The flashes of brilliance have too often been evened out, and now weighed down, by performances like Sunday’s.

Make no mistake, I am not calling for Tim Tebow (he should be released or traded immediately).  After all, the quarterback of a modern NFL team needs to be able to throw the ball consistently. He needs to be able to make his teammates better. He needs to show command of an offense. I refuse to comment on Sanchez’s demeanor; in-game, post-game, whatever. I have no idea what the man is thinking or feeling. But what he showed on Sunday was that he is simply not improving as an NFL quarterback, and that he may even be regressing. What’s my conclusion?  That the answer to the Jets’ problems at the sport’s most important position may not be on the current roster. I hope I’m proven wrong in the coming weeks, but after yesterday…

I’m officially out of excuses.

Sanchez Breakdown: Clusterf$!%

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance this past Sunday

Stat line: 21/45, 306 Yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions – 58.2 QB rating, 46.7 completion percentage

Season stats: 50/99, 710 Yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions – 78.3 QB rating, 50.5 completion percentage

The editor of this website used a word yesterday that can be applied to almost every facet of this Jets team, and is also the best word to describe Mark Sanchez’s performance yesterday: a total clusterf—.

Forgive me for being crass and reductive, but it’s true. It has never been easier to be productive throwing the football in the NFL, and the Jets have spent the last two weeks making it look more difficult than achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

The Best: Goodness, saying anything was “the best” part of this game is essentially telling a flat-out lie, but I will not stray from the format!  Sanchez does deserve credit for putting together three important drives in this game; the first when the Jets were down 10-0 and needed something (yes, this drive was aided by the Tim Tebow fake punt); the second to put them up 20-17 with just over three minutes remaining, leaving the game in the capable hands (ha!) of the Jet defense; and finally, after Dan Carpenter choked away the game for the Dolphins by missing a potential game-winning field goal, Sanchez finally hit an open Santonio Holmes down the field to set up Nick Folk’s three-ball for the Jet victory.

The Worst: There are at least five plays that immediately come to mind when trying to determine what Sanchez’s worst moment of yesterday was. The fact that there are five options to choose from is downright frightening. We’ll get a closer look at the offensive film tomorrow, but the floated interception to the corner of of the endzone for Stephen Hill is the type of mistake that has dogged Sanchez for his entire career. The read was poor and the technique was worse. It happened at a time when it was clear that the Jets were in for a dogfight, but could have seized control of the game with their defense having forced turnovers on consecutive plays. Instead, Sanchez singlehandedly revived the Dolphins, by throwing a floater to Stephen Hill, a play so poorly designed and executed that the man who intercepted the ball was originally assigned to mark Jeff Cumberland in man-to-man coverage.

The Key Moment: The Jets needed, and received, a lot of breaks to win this game, but the 38-yard completion to Santonio Holmes in overtime is something for the quarterback to hang his hat on.  Sanchez has been criticized heavily for letting bad plays snowball into bad games, sulking, etc., but he found a way to hang in yesterday and deliver, dare I say, in a clutch situation. Credit Holmes for overpowering Richard Marshall and Sanchez for the perfectly floated over-the-top ball (remember, he’d missed two similar plays earlier in the game). It’s amazing what happens when a wide receiver actually does his job and finishes the play. I mentioned last week that Holmes and Sanchez would have to fix their issues, and for all the warts on the passing game Sunday, Holmes’ clutch 9 catch, 147 yard performance was a bright spot. Simply put, this was as good as he and Sanchez have looked together since 2010.  For the Jets to have a puncher’s chance this season, that chemistry needs to be consistent.

Normally I close this article with a few snappy words about next week’s game, but I don’t even have that in me. Rooting for the Jets is exhausting.

New York Jets – The Sabotage Of Mark Sanchez

Writing against the Mark Sanchez sabotage campaign. When will the New York Jets support their quarterback?

It is no secret the New York Jets haven’t done an adequate job of developing Mark Sanchez since spending a first round pick on him in the 2009 NFL Draft. They certainly did not make a strong effort to upgrade his supporting cast heading into a critical year for his development. A week 1 point explosion against a suspect Buffalo defense temporarily shelved the debate but a disappointing loss to perennial AFC Powerhouse, Pittsburgh has the media hounds and their sources looking pin singular blame on Sanchez and reignite a non-existent quarterback debate.

The Daily News‘ Manish Mehta, he of ever diminishing credibility, published a nearly 700 word story today pinning the Jets loss to Pittsburgh on a single play. A missed throw by Mark Sanchez in the 2nd quarter. This is a play we discussed in our film and Sanchez breakdown over the past two days and yes it was a missed throw by Sanchez on a well-designed play. Yet, to spin 700 words that make Tony Sparano look like Bill Walsh and Santonio Holmes look like Jerry Rice is exceptionally excessive. It is meant to fault the loss on a single player and of course drum up that non-existent quarterback controversy. The tone of the article puts me in agreement with the thought process that there is someone within organization pulling for a Sanchez failure and a Tebow ascension.

Let’s not lose perspective of the following. On the road, against one of the league’s best teams, Mark Sanchez was supported by an underachieving number one receiver giving a lackadazical effort, a practice squad caliber tight end, a rookie number two receiver, and one of the league’s five worst starting running backs. Did he play well enough? No. But if you want to go play specific, you can equally pin the game on Jeff Cumberland for missing a block that would have sprung Bilal Powell for a touchdown. Or how about Antonio Cromartie looked completely clueless on Mike Wallace’s touchdown? Maybe Jeremy Kerley muffing a punt? Or Shonn Greene being unable to make a safety miss as he went untouched for 9 yards through the Pittsburgh defense on what should have been a big play?

Don’t fall for the mainstream media okie-doke. Don’t fall for the quarterback controversy agenda.

Sanchez Breakdown: Jets Offense Grounded in Pittsburgh

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 2

Stat Line: – 10/27, 138 Yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions – 66.6 QB rating, 37.0 completion percentage (yikes)

Season Stat Line – 29/54, 404 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception – 95 QB Rating, 53.7 completion percentage

To put it as simply as possible, two good drives are never going to be enough to win an NFL game. Ditto, just two trips to the red zone, as illustrated in this fancy graphic that all the stat-heads out there will surely enjoy. The Jets had issues in all three phases of the game, and the issues on offense weren’t only a function of poor quarterback play, but this is the place we discuss Mark Sanchez, so discuss him we will.

The Best: The first drive seemed to be a continuation of the week 1 success against the Buffalo Bills. This is what I expected the Jets to do most of the game to a Pittsburgh defense that was missing two of its impact players.  Sanchez and company responded to Pittsburgh’s opening drive field goal by marching right down the field, keyed by a big 45 yard hook-up with Jeremy Kerley where Sanchez again utilized a pump-fake to send Ryan Clark the wrong way before dropping a perfect, in-stride ball over three Steelers defenders for the big gain. Three plays later, a deft play-action fake and easy pickings on a quick slant to Santonio Holmes had the Jets up 7-3.

The Worst: Pretty much everything after the first drive was troublesome.  All of a sudden, Sanchez was out of synch with his receiving corps. Notable miscues happened with Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley, and after a solid opening drive, Santonio Holmes dropped a slew of catchable passes and in the end caught just three of the 11 balls thrown his way. The chemistry issues between Holmes and Sanchez have been discussed at length, but they’re worth noting again here. This is simply something that must be solved in order for the Jets to have a successful 2012 season. For better or worse, Holmes is the most experienced playmaker the Jets have, and if he and Sanchez aren’t on the same page, the offense will continue to sputter.

After the first drive, Sanchez completed just 6 of his next 22 passes (that’s 27.2%, for those of you scoring at home). The Jets did not enter the red zone after their second drive (they got to the 19 yard line), coming closest on their final, garbage time drive which ended at Pittsburgh’s 30 yard line. Sanchez also took some legitimate hits (including a rightly-penalized blow to the head), which was to be expected against Dick LeBeau’s defense. While I don’t think he was ever downright skittish, it’s clear that Sanchez was less decisive with the ball as the game wore on and Pittsburgh’s defense asserted itself.

The Key Moment: While I would love to harp on the Jets’ lack of aggressiveness at the end of the first half, I’ll keep the discussion to Sanchez, who said after the game that running the clock out was ultimately Tony Sparano’s decision.  A colleague of mine pointed out that after Sanchez missed Holmes for a would-be touchdown on the Jets second drive, everything seemed to stall out thereafter. It’s a good point. Watching the play again, it’s a terrific play-call on 1st and 10 from the 24, and the execution is there until the throw.  Sanchez playfakes, then bootlegs to the outside, which pulls Ryan Clark up the field. Santonio Holmes gets separation from Ike Taylor and runs into a fully vacated Pittsburgh endzone.  If Sanchez lays the ball out in front of Holmes, it’s an easy touchdown the Jets grab a 14-6 lead. Instead, the throw is high and a little behind #10, and the Jets settle for the three points that would be their last of the game. Sanchez has always been praised for his ability to throw on the run, and this play put him in his sweet spot, but the quarterback simply didn’t make the throw.

So now the question is, how will Mark Sanchez respond?  The Jets return to the place where their 2011 season officially and mercilessly went up in flames. Sanchez has a spotty history and just a 2-4 career record vs. Miami. Intriguing times ahead for the Jets’ quarterback.

Sanchez Breakdown: #6 Capable of Operating an NFL Offense

Rob Celletti provides his weekly breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s performance

Every Monday throughout the season Rob Celletti will provide a breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s performance. Also a reminder that I will breaking down the game film in a Q&A column tomorrow, if there is anything you want answered send a Tweet to the Turn On The Jets account

STAT LINE – 19/27, 266 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception – 123.4 QB Rating, 70.3 completion percentage

Watching yesterday’s beatdown of the Buffalo Bills, one thought continuously crossed my mind: “What team am I watching?”

Every single thing the Jets seemed to have trouble doing on offense last year, they got right in their 2012 opener.  Protecting the quarterback? Mark Sanchez was virtually untouched.  Third down efficiency? 10 for 14.  Getting the ball to playmakers in space?  Mark Sanchez completed passes to seven different receivers.

Regardless of the Jets’ “Ground and Pound” mentality, everyone knows that in the 2012 NFL, the quarterback is the engine that makes an offense go.  Yesterday, Sanchez had the Jets operating like a Maserati.  Here’s a closer look at the starting quarterback’s week 1 performance.

The Best: The basic stat line tells you most of what you need to know, but Sanchez also passed the eye test.  After getting over an early hiccup (more on that in a bit), every pass seemed to get out on time and with velocity.  From an accuracy standpoint, that was the best I’ve seen Sanchez throw the ball.  Receivers were running free through a suspect Buffalo secondary and Sanchez got them the ball with ease.  On his first two touchdown throws, Sanchez identified advantageous one-on-one matchups for his receivers and attacked them, opening up space with some deft pump-fakes.  In other words, the Jets looked like an effective NFL offense, something that couldn’t be said often last year.

The Worst: Obviously, the interception.  I’m steadfast in my defense of Sanchez, but my goodness, what a miserable decision he made there.  For better or worse, it seems that this is part of Sanchez’s personality as a quarterback.  He has a bit of the Tony Romo/Ben Roethlisberger tendency to not give up on a play because of his mobility, but clearly the proper decision would have been to throw the ball away or just run out of bounds.

The Key Moment: There were several, really, because it seemed as though every time the Jets needed a drive, Sanchez was able to engineer one, even in what seemed like garbage time when things got hairy at 41-28.  But for the sake of committing to one “turning point” for yesterday’s game, it has to be the drive after the interception.  A lot has been made of Sanchez’s demeanor and response to negative plays during the course of games throughout his young career.  Credit the fourth-year quarterback for bouncing right back yesterday and not allowing any hysteria involving a certain backup quarterback to ensue.  After Darrelle Revis got the ball back for the Jets at their own 39 yard line, Sanchez hooked up with Jeremy Kerley for 21 yards on third down, and then got a little help from the referees via a pass interference call on 3rd and 6 from Buffalo’s 33.  Three plays later, Kerley caught the Jets’ first touchdown on a wonderfully thrown ball to the back right corner of the endzone, and Gang Green was off to the races.

Next week’s clash in Pittsburgh is sure to provide a more stern test for Sanchez and the rest of the Jets offense, but the quarterback’s week 1 performance is still one to be very excited about.