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Week 1 vs. HOU
Passing: 18 - 31, 272 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 5 / 6 / 0
What a debut for the rookie. He didn't look like a rookie in his ball-handling on play action fakes, or in his clarity reading the defense and making quick, strong decisions. Sanchez had few errant throws or bad reads, and he also kept a few plays alive with his legs. He clearly trusts Jerricho Cotchery in crucial situations, and Sanchez sensed the pressure like a vet. He made a few rookie mistakes - he didn't expect the defender covering Tony Richardson in the flat to peel off and cover Dustin Keller, leading to the interception that ended up a defensive TD when Dustin Keller stripped John Busing after he picked the ball off, only to have Dominique Barber pick it up and do an impression of his big brother Marion. Sanchez also didn't read Mario Williams dropping into coverage, and almost gave him an INT. Sanchez doesn't like to get hit - he was fading away from imminent pressure, but he did show some willingness to take a hit to make a throw. Sanchez showed great mental toughness and competitiveness throughout. He converted a key 3rd down when the Texans crowd was urging them to get back in the game on a perfect downfield throw to Dustin Keller, and he dove to get a first down to help ice the game. The Jets have a keeper.
Week 2 vs. NE
Passing: 14 - 22, 163 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / -2 / 0
Sanchez looked like a rookie for the entire first half. He fumbled his first dropback from center, only to be bailed out by Alan Faneca inside his own five-yard line. He struggled to establish a rhythm early, and Sanchez failed to convert a first down until 20 minutes into the game. Clearly, the rookie responds to halftime adjustments and coaching, because he looked like an entirely different player in the second half, getting in sync with his receivers, and moving the offense down the field on multiple scoring drives. Still, he did have to be bailed out on a few errant passes - his accuracy left something to be desired on some throws, including an overthrow to a wide open Chansi Stuckey. Sanchez seemed especially in tune with Jerricho Cotchery, and he also moved the ball well with quick passes to Stuckey. On his TD pass to Dustin Keller, Sanchez had the patience and touch of a veteran QB when he found Keller in the back of the end zone. The Jets called Sanchez's number to ice the game late in the 4th, but he was under pressure and couldn't convert.
Week 3 vs. TEN
Passing: 17 - 30, 171 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 4 / 10 / 1
Just another vet-like performance for the undefeated rookie. He looked like he had been in the league for 10 years executing play fakes, including the play action TD pass to Ben Hartsock, and he showed a lot of grit (if not some stupidity) putting his head down and taking the collision to Michael Griffin at the goal line to score on the ground. Sanchez continues to be on the same page as Jerricho Cotchery, hitting him with a perfectly thrown bomb in the second half, and throwing other passes to him where Cotchery can use his big body to block out, like he did on the quick slant TD. Sanchez's one interception was on a ball thrown high to Chansi Stuckey, but it was still catchable, as Stuckey had it bounce off of his hands. The west coast background of Sanchez showed on a couple plays that he had trouble handling the ball because of the conditions, and he did hold the ball out there a little to cavalierly on his fumble, but overall, Sanchez played well beyond his years. He even had a reception on a throwback from Leon Washington that was called back by a penalty.
Week 4 vs. NO
Passing: 14 - 27, 138 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: 4 / 24 / 0
For the first time in his short professional career, Mark Sanchez was woefully ineffective as the Saints defense pressured him relentlessly and picked him off 3 times (twice by Darren Sharper). Sanchez's passing line of 14 for 27 for 138 yards only begins to tell the story of his rough day. Saints' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams blitzed Sanchez relentlessly forcing him to make ill-advised throws on a regular basis. Most of Sanchez's throws (and completions) were short distances as the Saints defensive backs played tight coverage on the Jets deep routes in a successful effort to take away the possibility of a Jets big play. Sanchez's longest completion came on a 27 yard toss to Jerricho Cotchery in the middle of the 4th quarter down the middle of the field. Sanchez followed that throw with a 17 yard completion to Cotchery but all momentum was killed two plays later when he was picked off by Darren Sharper for the second time that day. Sanchez's other, earlier reception was returned by Sharper from the Saints' one yard line for a 99 yard score. Sanchez was sacked four times and also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter as he was hit as he dropped back to pass from his own endzone.
Week 5 vs. MIA
Passing: 12 - 24, 172 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 6 / 0
Sanchez started and ended well, but was quiet through the middle of the game. He found Dustin Keller in the middle of the field on a pass that was incomplete, but drew a pass interference penalty that set up Braylon Edwards first TD as a Jet. Sanchez moved well in the pocket and understood that his new big target means he can just throw the ball in Edwards vicinity, and his wideout can make the rest happen on his own. Edwards made a great catch at the one to set up one fourth quarter TD, and he drew a pass interference inside the five on a bomb from Sanchez to set up the Jets other fourth quarter. Sanchez fantasy day was mild because Thomas Jones finished those drives, but Sanchez's willingness to let Edwards make plays on 50/50 balls created the scores. Sanchez played like a vet managing a two-minute drill at the end of the first half that let to a field goal, but he also made a few rookie mistakes, throwing to Edwards when he was blanketed on a pass that should have been an interception and leaving Ben Hartsock out to dry on a high pass over the middle that led to a questionable personal foul on Miami when Hartsock got lit up. His deep ball to David Clowney couldn't have been more on target if Sanchez ran down the field and handed the ball to Clowney. Sanchez continues to arrive way ahead of schedule as a quality NFL QB.
Week 6 vs. BUF
Passing: 10 - 29, 119 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: 1 / 6 / 0
It's hard to imagine it getting much worse for Sanchez than it was on this windy day. He made the rookie mistake of trying to do too much, throwing multiple interceptions on balls that floated in the wind, and not dialing back his game in the risky conditions. He also had an interception by underthrowing a receiver, having a ball tipped, and then in OT he just made a dumb throw to a covered target. Sanchez also arguably cost his team a FG when he had another oops ball security moment and added yardage to the attempt. He also had another ball that could have been a pick six, and Sanchez seemed to be off in some way or another for most of the game. He was still patient and seemed confident in his abilities to make plays, but it wasn't happening, and he cost his team the game on a monumental day for the running game.
Week 7 vs. OAK
Passing: 9 - 15, 143 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 4 / 1
Mark Sanchez was not asked to do too much in Week 7 as the New York Jets rolled all over the Oakland Raiders in a 38-0 blowout. Sanchez's lone touchdown came early in the second half on a very nice 35-yard touchdown fade route to David Clowney where Clowney beat single coverage. Sanchez did add more offense as a rusher, scoring on a 3-yard quarterback draw in the first quarter.
Week 8 vs. MIA
Passing: 20 - 35, 265 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 6 / 1
Sanchez had his best game as a pro, but he had one of his worst plays as a pro on the Jets final offensive play. Sanchez battled to keep the Jets in the game during a hellish third quarter that saw them give up 21 points to the Dolphins defense and special teams. He had the team in position to win with first and ten at the 'Fins 12 at the two-minute warning, but he took a sack to set up a 4th and 13, and then panicked on the play, abandoning a good pocket to run backwards and uncork an uncatchable hail mary. Early in the game, Sanchez stuck to safe throws, except for a flea flicker that he had to throw away because nothing came open. He had some inspired plays, like the front shoulder jumpball TD to Braylon Edwards and the soft touch on the run to create a 50 yard catch and run for Jerricho Cotchery, but Sanchez also had trouble feeling the rush coming, and he threw a ball that should have been a 100-yard pick six for Sean Smith on third-and-goal. Sanchez scored yet another rushing TD on a bootleg on first and goal - he is definitely a threat to run when the play breaks down, and he is not afraid of getting hit. This game showed how much promise Sanchez has, but also how much work he needs to do to get there.
Week 10 vs. JAX
Passing: 16 - 30, 212 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
At the start of the game, it appeared that it might be yet another long day for the Jets offense. Their first snap of the game was a play action pass in which Sanchez threw an interception deep down the sideline intended for Jerricho Cotchery. On the Jets next drive, Sanchez missed RB Thomas Jones on a screen pass that would have been a sure TD had it not sailed, bouncing off the tips of Jones fingers. He nearly threw his 2nd INT of the first half, scrambling out of the pocket and throwing it away off the hands of Rashean Mathis who terrorized the Jets receivers all afternoon. Sanchez did seem to settle down after the Jets got on the board with their first scoring drive, and he hung in the pocket beautifully (taking a blow to the head) to hit Cotchery on a deep sideline toss for 32 yards to the Jacksonville 10 yard line. He also thre a bullet to Cotchery for a 7 yard TD late in the first quarter. Sanchez looked much more decisive in his reads during the second half and found his rhythm hitting TE Dustin Keller and WR Braylon Edwards (who was invisible in the first half) downfield. He did throw his 2nd pick of the contest on a quick out that was read well by Jacksonville's front line. Sanchez made his mistakes in this game, but played well enough to set the Jets up late in the contest with the lead.
Week 11 vs. NE
Passing: 8 - 21, 136 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: 1 / 2 / 0
The Jets offense was utterly dreadful in the first half gaining only 34 yards and unable to convert a single 1st down. Their only score of the first half came off a blocked punt with under a minute left before half-time. Sanchez looked rattled at Gillette stadium and had a measly 6 passing yards to go along with two interceptions (both by Leigh Bodden) in the first half. He did come out in the 2nd half showing signs of life as he was able to methodically move the ball down the field hitting his TE Dustin Keller on a couple nice throws and finished the drive with a 29 yard TD pass into the wind to Jerricho Cotchery. He was later intercepted a 3rd time by Bodden, off a play action pass intended for Cotchery, and made matters even worse by throwing a 4th pick on a pressured, ill advised throw to Cotchery later in the game. And just when you think things couldn't get any worse, Sanchez fumbled, committing his 5th turnover on what was a horrific day for the Jets young signal caller.
Week 12 vs. CAR
Passing: 13 - 17, 154 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 27 / 0
The training wheels are back on for Sanchez, but luckily the Jets didn't need a robust passing attack to win this one. Sanchez was often abandoning the pocket after a few quick reads, and he came down hard when he was chased from behind on one such run, causing him to miss a few plays. He returned on the next series and resumed his role as caretaker for the Jets running game. Sanchez did complete some nice throws over the middle to Dustin Keller (who fumbled one at the goal line), but the need for caution in his decision-making became apparent yet again when he threw behind Braylon Edwards and allowed Chris Gamble to undercut the route for an interception. Sanchez also faced decent pressure from Carolina in passing situations, so they deserve some of the credit for the meager passing numbers on the day.
Week 13 vs. BUF
Passing: 7 - 15, 104 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 8 / 0
This game was a contest of missed opportunities for Sanchez as the Jets missed three TD opportunities in the first half, settling instead for three Jay Feely FG's. The first missed opportunity came when Sanchez overthrew a wide open Jericho Cotchery in the end zone, only to be made worse by Braylon Edward's easy 84 yard potential TD drop. After he had beaten his defender badly, Edwards ran downfield all by his lonesome and expanded his blooper footage with yet another huge drop. Sanchez then missed on a 3rd TD when David Clowney lost control of the ball while going to the ground on a TD grab after getting both feet in bounds. He did connect with Braylon Edwards for a 13 yard strike to end the 1st half after Braylon made a nice lunge move for the goal line and was able to score. In the 3rd quarter, Sanchez decided to use his legs to convert on a 3rd and 7 where he dove head-first, disregarding the "sliding" lessons he received from Joe Girardi of the Yankees this past week. Sanchez injured his right knee on the play, left the game, and was replaced by Kellen Clemons. He did not return.
Week 15 vs. ATL
Passing: 18 - 32, 226 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: 3 / 7 / 0
The knucklehead had his moments, but this one will go as a game that he will want to forget. Sanchez was flying high after hitting Braylon Edwards with a perfect bomb to score from 65 yards out, but he also threw a pick by testing the wind before that TD, and a second pick came when he threw into double coverage again. You could see Sanchez get tentative after his INTs, and then open things back up as his confidence came back. He made a few nice improv plays, and also ran the two minute drill very well. Sanchez made some nice throws into small windows to get the Jets into field goal range multiple times. He also demonstrated good pocket presence. If the kicking game had been competent, this would have gone down as an ugly win that Sanchez contributed to with evolving play for a rookie. Instead, they had to trust him with the game's final drive, and he was forced to throw into good coverage again, and the game ended on an interception. Sanchez doesn't look overwhelmed by any means, but he does need to learn what risks are worth taking and what risks aren't to get to the next level.
Week 16 vs. IND
Passing: 12 - 19, 106 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 0 / 0
Sanchez played it safe for the most part, and it paid off with a win. The running game was strong enough that he never had to take any big chances throwing into tight coverage. He showed patience and good decision making, without being overly cautious; and while he didn't scramble much, Sanchez was mobile in the pocket. Overall, he did an excellent job reading the defense and not forcing the ball into dangerous territory. The downside is that 'reading the defense' in most cases also meant 'not throwing the ball'.
Week 17 vs. CIN
Passing: 8 - 16, 63 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 2 / 0
The Jets game plan called for short passes early and Sanchez was generally accurate on those. He was able to hit both Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards underneath on a variety of bubble screens and flat passes. Sanchez did target Edwards deep twice and could have had a long touchdown pass had Edwards adjusted properly to the ball on one play.
Week 18 vs. CIN
Passing: 12 - 15, 182 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 3 / -2 / 0
Other than a pass that was batted down at the line of scrimmage, Mark Sanchez was flawless. The other two incompletions came on drops by Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards. Sanchez made great throws from the pocket and on the road, and was set up by great playcalls and a strong running game throughout the contest. His sideline throws to Jerricho Cotchery were perfect and converted some key first downs, and Sanchez made an excellent throw on the move to Dustin Keller a long catch and run TD that gave the Jets control of the game. Maybe it is beginner's luck, but Sanchez completely outplayed his counterpart and did not look intimidated by the crucible that is the NFL playoffs.
Week 19 vs. SD
Passing: 12 - 23, 100 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 1 / -1 / 0
Fantasy-wise, Sanchez's stats aren't going to jump off the page at you. He threw for just 100 yards, averaging barely over four yards per attempt. But it was how he looked that should give fantasy owners hope moving forward. The low average is mostly attributable to the fact that HC Rex Ryan employed a very conservative gameplan in the first half. Towards the latter part of the half, that was opened up a bit and in the second half the rookie head coach finally trusted his rookie quarterback to make a few plays rather than just managing the offense. He did a great job rolling out and keeping the play alive on the Dustin Keller touchdown, waiting until the last moment and then firing a strike while on the run to the young tight end. Sanchez wasn't called upon a lot to make a big throw, but when he was he more often than not was able to. Basically, he looked like he belonged. And with this victory, he now has as many career playoff victories as Joe Namath.
Week 20 vs. IND
Passing: 17 - 30, 257 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 2 / 1 / 0
Sanchez came out of the gates confident, poised, and taking risks downfield. He threw a perfect bomb to Braylon Edwards on 1st and 10 for an 80 yard TD, and showed excellent accuracy again on 12 yard touchdown strike to Dustin Keller. Ultimately the success of the Jets passing game depended on the success of the running game --- which meant that once they were playing from behind, Sanchez found things a little more difficult. He didn't provide enough for the win, but certainly showed that he's here to stay, and that he is no mere 'game manager' quarterback and is a real competitor. Down by two scores, he was still trying to move the ball with 30 seconds to go --- if not for two field goal misses by Jay Feely, he might have been playing to tie the game.