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Mark Sanchez's Mental Game Improved in the 2010 Playoffs

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A lot of people disagreed with me early in the 2010 season when I stated ESPN's Tedy Bruschi's evaluation of Mark Sanchez was correct. Bruschi said something to the effect that Mark was a good quarterback when things got rolling in a positive direction, but he struggled at the first sign of adversity. There were a lot of brutal games in the 2010 regular season that seemed to affirm this.

He was a different guy in the Playoffs, though. He finally showed an ability to shake off a rough start. He was brutal in the first half against the Colts in the Wild Card round. He rallied in an almost perfect second half, though. Sure his life was made somewhat easy since the Jets ran the ball at will on Indy's small front, but Mark made the plays in the last minute when a desperation drive resulted in the winning points. It culminated in a great back shoulder throw to Braylon Edwards. The ball was right on target, where only the offensive receiver could make a play.

Mark shook off a similarly bad start the next week at New England to throw for 3 touchdown passes. What really impressed me, though, was the job he did in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, the friend replied, "The Steelers were trying to keep everything in front of them. Sanchez just took the easy passes for short gains." That is exactly the point, though. Mark took what the defense gave him and gave the Jets a chance to come back. That is not something he was good at during his rookie year. It was not even something he was good at in the 2010 regular season. Think back to the second half of the 45-3 game at Foxborugh when Mark was just putting it up for grabs. When his team fell behind, Sanchez panicked and tried to do too much. He wanted to get all the points back at once. What we saw in Pittsburgh was a quarterback willing to play within himself, even when things look dire.