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QB Mark Sanchez - Denver Broncos

6-2, 227Born: 11-11-1986College: USCDrafted: Round 1, pick 5

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Photo: Brad Penner, US Presswire

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Week 21: vs Carolina Panthers

All QB vs CAR

Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. According to Bucky Brooks at, Peyton Manning targeted 62% of his passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage during the regular season, and he connected on 69.9% of those throws with four touchdowns and nine interceptions. During the playoffs, 63% of his throws are of the short variety, with 35% of his throws between 10 and 19 yards, which was up from 24% during the regular season. Manning has thrown 20 of his 24 pass attempts at intermediate range to the right or middle of the field during the playoffs. The takeaway here is that Manning has thrown 98% of his passes to short or intermediate range during the two full playoff games that he has played since returning to the starting role in Week 17 of regular season. Here's what he's done in the playoffs - vs. Pittsburgh, Manning compiled 21/37 for 222 yards passing, zero TDs or interceptions thrown, with one successful two point conversion thrown to Demaryius Thomas (eight for 4/40/0). Emmanuel Sanders led the team in receiving with eight targets for 5/85/0 receiving - nobody else on the Broncos had over 40 yards receiving in the Divisional Round. During the Conference Championship showdown with New England, Manning threw a 21-yard and 12-yard TD pass to Owen Daniels - 2/33/2 receiving total for Daniels - Daniels added several yards-after-catch to the actual tosses from Manning, and Manning wound up with 17/32 for 176 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions thrown. Demaryius Thomas was awful with seven targets for 2/12/0 receiving, while Emmanuel Sanders led the team with eight targets for 5/62/0 receiving. Nobody other than Daniels or Sanders went over 20 yards receiving during the contest. The Denver passing attack is anemic entering the Super Bowl, friends. As Manning himself noted on February 2: 'My arm is what it is. Honestly, my having a little time off to heal my foot helped some of the other parts... My arm feels OK. My arm has not been the same since I was injured four years ago... If I could throw left-handed it would be a lot easier... It's just different than it was... It's got a few yards on it, miles on it, however you want to say it.' The good news for Broncos' fans is that Manning has reined in the interceptions thrown (he hasn't thrown an interception since getting back in the game Week 17). The bad news is that, as Carolina showed against Arizona two weeks ago, the Panthers are a ball-hawking secondary and they have compiled six interceptions (most among playoff teams) and eight sacks (second-most among playoff teams) over their two playoff games, to go with their 24 interceptions (first in the NFL in this category during the season) and 44 sacks generated during regular season. Manning threw nine TDs and 17 interceptions during his time on the field during regular season. Carolina comes into this game with injuries to some key defensive players - defensive end Jared Allen is working hard to overcome his fractured foot and play in Super Bowl 50, but he simply may not be healthy enough to play on Sunday - outside linebacker Thomas Davis broke his arm in the NFC Championship game, had surgery to put a plate to strengthen the fracture, and will have to wear some combination of cast/soft-cast/brace if he is well enough to play in the contest against Denver. Davis said on Monday, February 1 that he could be limited in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, but he has every intention of playing in the game. He returned to practice and used a cast Monday. The practice status of each defender warrants attention during the late-week practices leading up to the Super Bowl. The Panthers finished regular season ranked 11th in the NFL averaging 234.5 net passing yards allowed per game, but they had less TDs allowed (21) than interceptions generated (24) - in fact, the Panthers turnover ratio of +20 was first in the NFL by far, and they led the NFL in interceptions as noted above. Over the final four weeks of regular season, Carolina wound up averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (in the middle of the NFL range at 17th); averaged 22.4 fantasy points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers (18th); but were seventh-least in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends (5.7 per game on average). So far during the playoffs the Panthers have averaged 276 yards passing allowed per game (but they have won by jumping out to big leads, winning 49-15 vs. Arizona and 31-24 vs. Seattle - both teams had to throw the ball a lot to try and compete with the Panthers), with four passing scores given out vs. six interceptions generated. Carson Palmer looked dreadful in Charlotte two weeks ago (23/40 for 227 net yards passing, one TD and four interceptions thrown, with three sacks taken for -8 yards). In the Divisional round, Russell Wilson finished with 31/48 for 325 net yards passing, three TDs and two interceptions, with five sacks taken for -41 yards. The Panthers have been hard on both quarterbacks they've seen during the playoffs. This looks like a very tough matchup for the aging Manning and his receiving corps.

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 12 vs DET (19 / 27 / 199 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)

It was rough day for Sanchez. His offensive line couldn't keep the Lions' defense off of him. He was sacked six times and turned the ball over once on a fumble. His final stat line is actually quite impressive considering the environment. He completed over 70 percent of his passes and tossed a pair of touchdowns in the process. The first score came on their third series. After a big catch-and-run by Trey Burton that set up the Eagles deep in Lions' territory, Sanchez rolled right and found Brent Celek, who was able to fight his way into the endzone. But Sanchez and Co. wouldn't even so much as sniff the endzone again until late in the fourth quarter. In true garbage time fashion, he stood tall in the pocket and hit Jordan Matthews for a 24-yard strike and score. All things being equal, Sanchez played well and was the least of the Eagles problems.

2015 Week 11 vs TB (26 / 41 / 261 / 2 / 3 pass, 2 / 14 / 0 rush)

The Good. The Bad. The Sanchez. Chip Kelly's group came into Sunday favored by 6.5 points and got blown out by four times that amount. Three interceptions certainly didn't help. But this was a clinic on how not to play defense and how not to respond offensively when your defense is getting pummeled on the ground and shredded through the air. The unfortunate thing about an ugly, terrible loss like this one is how good the Eagles looked to open the game. They strung together a series of five first downs off the opening kickoff in route to a score and a seven point lead. All this despite DeMarco Murray fumbling the ball on his first carry of the game. The Buccaneers would then proceed to rattle off 21 unanswered points and ultimately take a 28-14 lead into a halftime. It was in the second half that the Eagles defense would be exposed. The Buccaneers put together a 9:47 touchdown drive and held Sanchez and Co. out of the endzone for the rest of the game. The Eagles offense had no chance of recovering and looked like a different team than what took the field to open the game. They managed only 10 first downs in the second half and a lopsided time of possession and turnover battle. In the end, it was a horrible showing for a home team in a battle for the NFC East. They've now lost two of their last three games and there's not much to suggest that things are going to get better anytime soon.

2015 Week 10 vs MIA (14 / 23 / 156 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)

In relief of Bradford, Mark Sanchez got his first action of the season. Under his control, the Eagles would only score three more points. On his first play, he dumped off to Ryan Mathews who was able to turn up the field for 17 yards. Things got messy from there. Sanchez had problems at the mesh point when attempting handoffs, and even tripped up DeMarco Murray on one attempt. He wasn't on the same page with his receivers, often throwing to open areas of the field where no one was, or throwing at the backs of his receivers when they weren't looking. But most of that can be excused by limited or no practice reps with the first team offense. Given the situation, he played well and kept his team in the game. Chip Kelly immediately went to a read-option approach and Sanchez responded positively. He kept plays alive with his legs when plays broke down. He looked sharp in the pocket when the protection was there. With his first possession of the fourth quarter, he navigated the offense into scoring position and would have regained the lead on beautiful touchdown pass to Ertz on a rollout off of play-action. Unfortunately, the score was erased by offsetting penalties and the Eagles settled for a field goal. Late in the game, setup with great field position, Sanchez completed three passes on three attempts to chew up 32 yards and moved into scoring position down by one point. On second down at the nine yard line, Sanchez stared down Miles Austin and tossed an ugly interception. He had an opportunity to win the game with 1:40 remaining. After three straight incompletions, which included Austin not looking for a pass, and two drops by other receivers, Sanchez failed to throw the fourth down pass beyond the first down marker. All things being equal, with a full week of practice he might just give this offense a spark should Bradford miss time.


Latest News

Broncos | No Brian Hoyer for Denver (Fri Apr 29, 07:11 PM) - Free-agent QB Brian Hoyer (Texans) is not a part of the Denver Broncos' immediate plans. The Broncos informed Hoyer Friday, April 29, that they will not be signing him. Denver will stick with three quarterbacks for now because general manager John Elway wants QBs Mark Sanchez, Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian to receive as many repetitions as possible.

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Broncos | Paxton Lynch to compete for starting gig (Thu Apr 28, 11:48 PM) - Denver Broncos QB Paxton Lynch will compete with QB Mark Sanchez and QB Trevor Siemian for the starting job, according to executive vice president John Elway.

Our View: Footballguys' own Cecil Lammey is fully wired into the Broncos beat and expects Sanchez to start the season and for Lynch to potentially take over around Week 10 once the brutal first half of the season is done. Lynch is a great fit for Gary Kubiak's offense, so it's really just a matter of getting him up to speed.
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Broncos | Denver content with QB options? (Thu Apr 21, 03:02 PM) - The Denver Broncos seem fine with going to training camp with QB Mark Sanchez, QB Trevor Siemian and a rookie quarterback, in the opinion of The Denver Post's Cameron Wolfe.

Our View: They might pick up another backup either in the draft or from the flotsam left in free agency. And while it's possible they grab a Paxton Lynch or Connor Cook but they seem to be content to not reach and instead, lean on their defense like they did before. They just won a championship with mediocre quarterback play, so why not?
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