After all of the criticism Mark has gotten since joining the Jets last year, he has again and again risen up to the challenge. First of all, try getting thrown on the field for a team with high aspirations and a city that doesn't take to well to failure. Right off the bat, he led the Jets to wins against Houston, New England, and Tennessee. All of the sudden, they sat atop the AFC East and didn't plan on looking back. But then, after losses against New Orleans, Miami -- and then the most shocking of all -- Buffalo, the entire city rose in arms. He can't handle an NFL team! He isn't smart under center! You're throwing to the team in green, Mark!
And all of a sudden, he could catch a break. The rest of the season he was more or less babied by the coaching staff, rarely getting over 15 pass attempts per game. After getting demolished by the Pats, the Jets sat at 5-6 and everyone had all but given up and Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets.
Lets look at some other notable rookie years by Hall of Fame quarterbacks. 1983- John Elway starts 10 games, and records 7 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 47. 1986- Steve Young starts 14 games and records 8 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions is right along that pace. By the way, those were Mark Sanchez's numbers last year.
Forget that he actually led the Jets to the AFC Championship game as a ROOKIE. No, he's horrible. Well, we are just about 11 weeks through the season and his numbers have completely inverted. He boasts 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. But let's forget stats for a minute. 3 weeks ago in Detroit he led the Jets to 10 points in the final 2:30 to send the game into OT. Then, he led them down the field to win it. Let's go to the next week in Cleveland. I don't know if any of you were watching the game, but the elusiveness he showed in the pocket was UNBELIEVABLE. He avoided sack after sack and kept drives alive. And then he just so happened to throw a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to win it with :16 left in OT.
Now this week- this was something else. For the 4th straight game he threw over 250 yards-- something he accomplished TWICE last year. He also broke 300 yards for the second time in three games. After Damien Woody came out of the game in the first quarter and was replaced by Wayne Hunter, the O-line struggled. Play after play, he was getting rushed by Mario Williams and other Houston defenders and had to scramble continually. He had practically no time to plant his feet at any point. But he stuck with it, leading the Jets to a seemingly comfortable 23-7 lead in the forth quarter. But in just over 10 minutes, the Jets were down by 4. They had 56 seconds left. The had no timeouts. The needed a touchdown.
CBS shows on the screen that Mark Sanchez has 2 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 4th quarter games in his career. Well, that didnt stop him. He marched the Jets down the field, while avoiding sack after sack, and actually won them the game. His touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with just 10 seconds left capped off yet another exciting win.
With numerous one-possession last-drive wins for the Jets, Mark has shown maturity and obvious growth. With a season and a half under his belt, he has handled the type of games that quarterbacks take years to be able to handle. Now, at 8-2, the Jets can only look forward and watch Mark Sanchez continue to grow and lead the Jets to their obvious goal: to win Super Bowl XLV this February.