Following last weeks comeback, it felt like Mark Sanchez has done his come from behind magic time and time again. I was curious to see how he did in the 4th Quarter as compared to the rest of the game. In 8 of his 32 career games he has lead either a 4th Quarter comeback or the game winning drive. But I was rather surprised when I took a look at his situational numbers. Over his career the 4th Quarter has been the worst Quarter for Sanchez by far. His QB rating is 50.3, nearly 18 points worse then his next bad quarter, the first. He's only thrown 4 TDs in the 4th compared to 13 INTs.
Now my immediate thought was that Sanchez probably throws more out of desperation in the 4th with the game normally on the line. But his 227 attempts is right in the middle when it comes down to breaking his attempts down by quarter. How does his 4th Quarter QB Rating compare to other QBs around the league? Kyle Orton's is at 88.4 (16 TD to 8 INT), Tony Romo's is at 100 (34 to 17) Jason Campbell's is 81.2 (19 to 13) Chad Henne's is 62.9 (9 to 16) David Carr is 71.3 (23 to 26). That's a pretty good mix of QBs who are mostly considered average at best, have played for bad teams or are considered choke artists. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Sanchez has one of the worst QB Ratings in the fourth.
Half of Sanchez's 34 INTs have come while the team has been trailing. But he has also thrown 19 of his 31 TDs while the team is behind. He also averages nearly 2 more yards per pass. Amazingly while ahead Sanchez's TD to INTs are 9 to 7. Inexplicably when the game is tied he's thrown 10 INTs on 164 attempts to only 3 TDs. When you break down his stats just to each half, the numbers are nearly identical in every category, until you get to INTs. He's thrown 15 first half TDs and 16 second half TDs, but 11 first half INTs compared to 23 second half INTs. This is with only a difference of ten attempts between both halfs.
On the bright side Sanchez has improved. In his first season he threw 9 INTs in the 4th compared to only 4 last year. But he still struggled last year in the 4th in general. Although he did have his highest number of attempts last year in the 4th (143 compared to 141 in the first) he had his worst competition percentage at 46.2. Last season he also did better when the team was trailing, throwing 8 TDs to 8 INTs. This was while he threw 100 more times when ahead and 160 more times then when the team was tied.
And Over 6 Yards To Go
Now this bit of an anomaly looks like it can be blamed on coaching more then Sanchez. On 1st, 2nd and 3rd down and more then 6 yards to go when Sanchez throws there seems to be a gamblers mentality. On 1st and greater then 6 he's 157 for 262 for 2120 yards with 7 TDs to 8 INTs while posting a 81.9 QB Rating. On 2nd and greater then 6 he's 156 for 267 for 1774 yards with 8 TDs to 11 INTs and a 71.3 QB Rating. On 3rd and greater then 6 he's 96 for 196 for 1251 yards with 6 TDs to 11 INTs and a 56.3 QB Rating. 3 of his INTs came from when the Jets had 2nd down and more then 11 yards, while another 6 came from when the Jets had 3rd down and more then 11. He also has no TDs when the Jets have more then 11 yards to go and has a total of 11 INTs in those situations.
Last year though the Jets only threw 64 times when they had more then 11 yards to go and Sanchez only threw 4 picks, with 3 of them being on 3rd and more then 11 to go. In 2009 he threw 52 times with more then 11 to go and put up 7 INTs. Interestingly Sanchez has the best QB rating on first down, which isn't surprising for a run first team. He has a 80.9 QBR, throwing 159 completions on 267 attempts for 2129 yards with 8 TDs to 9 INTs. But he has more TDs on 2nd down as he is 185 for 327 with 2047 yards and 13 TDs to 13 INTs for a 72.0 QBR.
Comparing his rookie season to his sophmore season, there's definitely some growth. It is rare the QB that doesn't struggle on 3rd and long. Even Peyton Manning's QB rating drops to a 61.6 on 3rd and 11+ to go. It is interesting though what you can see and gleam from the stats when your thinking one thing (that Sanchez has been a great 4th Quarter QB) and the stats tell you something different (he's not).