AFC East: Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

It is time to crown a new champion of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch." We have been tracking AFC East quarterbacks all season to determine who is legitimately No. 2 behind Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

After 15 games, we have a winner for 2012.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: L, 27-17 against San Diego

Stats: N/A

QBR: N/A

Analysis: I was trying to figure out how to handle Sanchez's benching last week. We thought about including backup Greg McElroy, but it's too late in the season. So we decided to just keep Sanchez in the running without points.

Grade: N/A

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 24-10 against Miami

Stats: 20-of-35, 240 yards, one TD, one INT, one lost fumble

QBR: 42.5

Analysis: Fitzpatrick's numbers are a little deceiving. He pretty much stunk it up in the first half and started to pad his stats after the Bills trailed by three touchdowns. Fitzpatrick didn't get the Bills into the end zone until the fourth quarter. He nearly did it a second time but threw an inexcusable interception in the end zone to Dolphins safety Reshad Jones. It was yet another fourth-quarter interception by Fitzpatrick, who rarely makes plays in the big moments.

Grade: D

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: W, 24-10 against Buffalo

Stats: 13-of-25, 130 yards, two TDs

QBR: 78.5

Analysis: Statistics do not seem to matter when it comes to Tannehill. He put together another winning performance without eye-popping numbers. Tannehill made the plays that needed to be made, including two touchdown passes and a key, 31-yard scramble in the second half. The biggest stat for Tannehill is seven. That is how many wins Tannehill has in his rookie season.

Grade: B

This week's winner

No. 1: Tannehill (three points)

No. 2: Fitzpatrick (two points)

No. 3: Sanchez (zero points)

Final 2012 standings

Champion: Tannehill (34 points)

No. 2 (Tie): Fitzpatrick and Sanchez (30 points)

Tannehill is the 2012 undisputed champion of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch" and officially the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East behind Brady. Fitzpatrick and Sanchez cannot catch the rookie's four-point lead with one game remaining. This is the second consecutive year a Miami quarterback won the award, as Tannehill joins 2011 champion Matt Moore.

Who will challenge Tannehill for the crown next year? Chances are Sanchez and Fitzpatrick both will be replaced in 2013 and Tannehill will defend his title against a new batch of contenders.

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

December, 11, 2012
12/11/12
11:30
AM ET
The race for the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East is coming down to the wire in the final weeks.

Let's take a look at the latest "Sachchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch."

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: W, 17-10 against Jacksonville

Stats: 12-of-19, 111 yards

QBR: 41.6

Analysis: It wasn’t a standout performance by Sanchez. But it was an efficient and winning performance. Sanchez led the Jets to 17 second half points and didn’t make any mistakes. This is the way he has to play for the Jets to win. As long as the Jets can run effectively, Sanchez can be successful. New York rushed for 166 yards against an awful Jacksonville defense.

Grade: C

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 15-12 against St. Louis

Stats: 25-of-33, 247 yards, one TD, one INT

QBR: 41.3

Analysis: This is a hard game to grade, because Fitzpatrick did his job for three quarters. But in typical Fitzpatrick form, he stalled in the fourth quarter and threw a late interception. Much of the blame is on Bills coach Chan Gailey. I’m still trying to figure out why tailback C.J. Spiller only gets seven carries in a close game. But Fitzpatrick threw the ball a lot and only mustered 12 points.

Grade: C-minus

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: L, 27-13 against San Francisco

Stats: 17-of-33, 150 yards, one TD

QBR: 37.0

Analysis: Tannehill had a tough assignment going on the West Coast to play a fast and physical 49ers defense. But Tannehill hung in there and played decent at times. Tannehill’s completion percentage is low because he did a lot of scrambling and throwing the ball away. It was clear he did not want to take sacks or commit turnovers against San Francisco’s vaunted defense. But that strategy didn’t result in enough points.

Grade: C-minus

First place: Sanchez (three points)

Second place (tie): Fitzpatrick and Tannehill (two points)

Overall standings

1. Sanchez (29 points)

2. Tannehill (28 points)

3. Fitzpatrick (26 points)

There are just three game left to determine the second-best quarterback in the AFC East in 2012. Check back next week for another exciting (wink, wink) installment of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch."

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

November, 27, 2012
11/27/12
10:00
AM ET
The race for the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East is getting down to the final stages. Here is another edition of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch" for Week 12:

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: L, 49-19 against New England

Stats: 26-of-36, 301 yards, one TD, one INT

QBR: 22.9

Analysis: This is one of the most misleading stat lines of the year. If you strictly look at the numbers, you would think Sanchez had a great game against New England. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sanchez stunk up MetLife Stadium when it mattered. Sanchez had one interception, one lost fumble returned for a touchdown and led the Jets to just three points as New England jumped out to a 35-3 halftime lead. Once the Patriots let up defensively, Sanchez padded his numbers and threw for 301 yards. The Jets need Sanchez to play well when it counts.

Grade: D

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 20-13 against Colts

Stats: 17-of-33, 180 yards, one TD, one INT

QBR: 16.3

Analysis: Fitzpatrick was "Bad Fitz" against the Indianapolis Colts. His accuracy was off and he threw his vaunted late-game interception, although Bills receiver Steve Johnson made a great play to strip the ball back from the Colts. Fitzpatrick was a gunslinger last year and threw tons of interceptions. It’s clear the coaching staff has less confidence and being more controlled with his throws. That’s not working either, and some players are getting unhappy about it. It’s a tough situation all around.

Grade: D-

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: W, 24-21 against Seahawks

Stats: 18-of-26, 253 yards, one TD, one INT

QBR: 88.9

Analysis: Tannehill crashed into the rookie wall for a few weeks but finally got over the hump against Seattle. Tannehill showed a lot of growth by outdueling fellow rookie Russell Wilson. Tannehill produced his first career game-winning drive in the final two minutes. He was 3-for-5 on the final drive and scrambled for 15 yards to set up the game-winning field goal. Being clutch at the end makes up for earlier mistakes he made in the game.

Grade: A-

This week’s winner: Ryan Tannehill (three points)

Second place: Mark Sanchez (two points)

Third place: Ryan Fitzpatrick (one point)

Overall standings

No. 1: Sanchez (25 points)

No. 2: Tannehill (24 points)

No. 3: Fitzpatrick (21 points)

The race is heating up down the stretch. Check back next week to find out who will take the lead in the race to be the No. 2 quarterback in the division.

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

November, 20, 2012
11/20/12
10:00
AM ET
The race to become the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East is heating up. Let’s check out the latest edition of the “Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch.”

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: W, 27-13 against Rams

Stats: 15-of-20, 178 yards, one TD

QBR: 84.0

Analysis: This is the Mark Sanchez the Jets want and expect. He was efficient and much more accurate than he’s been most of this season. Sanchez made smart decisions and kept the Jets ahead. Sanchez didn’t do anything spectacular to win the game. But he didn’t lose it by turning over the football, either. That’s key for him.

Grade: B

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: W, 19-14 against Miami

Stats: 17-of-27, 168 yards

QBR: 62.5

Analysis: Fitzpatrick had a similar game to Sanchez. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but Fitzpatrick didn’t lose it for Buffalo, which he is prone to do. Fitzpatrick didn’t take any crazy chances and utilized a short passing game to beat Miami. He also made some plays with his feet to get first downs and keep the offense on the field for a winning performance.

Grade: B-

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: L, 19-14 against Buffalo

Stats: 14-of-28, 141 yards, one TD, two INTs

QBR: 36.5

Analysis: Tannehill laid his second egg in a row, which makes you wonder if he’s finally hitting the rookie wall. This is Tannehill’s first 16-game season as a pro. He’s only had 19 career starts in college and that regular season is about to wrap up. Tannehill’s accuracy was off in this game until late. Granted, pass protection has been an issue. But Tannehill has not played well the past two weeks. He’s thrown five interceptions in the past two games. Miami can’t win with that kind of production from the quarterback position.

Grade: D

This week’s winner: Sanchez (three points)

Second place: Fitzpatrick (two points)

Third place: Tannehill (one point)

Overall standings

1. Sanchez (23 points)

2. Tannehill (21 points)

3. Fitzpatrick (20 points)

We are entering the home stretch and this race couldn’t be tighter. Check for next week’s "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch" to see who takes control of the No. 2 quarterback slot in the division.

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
3:00
PM ET
It was not a banner weekend for the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills or Miami Dolphins. All three teams suffered losses.

How will that impact the AFC East blog’s latest installment of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch?" Let’s examine.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Results: L, 28-7 against Seattle

Stats: 9-of-22, 124 yards, one INT

QBR: 6.2

Analysis: It’s not a surprise Sanchez had another bad game. You almost come to expect it. But perhaps the most disappointing thing is this was the best Sanchez could do after a bye and two weeks of preparation. New York’s offense is going nowhere and Sanchez is part of the problem, not the solution. Jets head coach Rex Ryan continues to emphatically stand behind Sanchez. This probably won't end well.

Grade: D

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Results: L, 37-31 against New England

Stats: 27-of-40, 337 yards, two TDs, one INT

QBR: 53.0

Analysis: “Good Fitz” was back this week, although nearly every quarterback looks good against the Patriots’ secondary. The streaky Fitzpatrick lit up New England and nearly pulled off a big upset. Fitzpatrick hit seven different receivers. But as usual, Fitzpatrick saved his worst throw for last. He threw the ball right to Patriots safety Devin McCourty in the end zone to close out the game. Other than that, it was a good performance for Fitzpatrick.

Grade: B

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Results: L, 37-3 against Tennessee

Stats: 23-of-39, 237 yards, three INTs

QBR: 8.4

Analysis: Tannehill finally had one of those “rookie games.” He was probably due after playing above everyone’s expectations all season. Tannehill looked confused and flustered against the Titans. He rushed his reads, made bad decisions and threw three interceptions. One of his turnovers resulted in a pick-six. Tannehill picked a bad time to have an awful game. But the key is how he responds on Thursday against Buffalo?

Grade: D-

This week's winner: Fitzpatrick (three points)

Second place: Sanchez (two points)

Third place: Tannehill (one point)

Overall standings

No. 1: Mark Sanchez and Ryan Tannehill (20 points)

No. 3: Ryan Fitzpatrick (18 points)

The race for the No. 2 quarterback in the division is very tight. Stay tuned for next week's exciting (wink, wink) installment of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch."

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
2:00
PM ET
We are at the midpoint of the season to determine the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East behind Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

Let’s get to it.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 21-9 against Texans

Stats: 25-of-38, 239 yards, one lost fumble

Analysis: The Bills (3-5) put forth a good effort coming off the bye against the Houston Texans (6-1). However, no one stepped up for Buffalo to take over the game and that includes Fitzpatrick. The Bills did a solid job of getting to the red zone, but no one made a big play. The Bills were 0-for-3 in the red zone and settled for a trio of field goals. Fitzpatrick had one lost fumble but didn’t lose the game for Buffalo. He just didn’t do anything to win it.

Grade: B-

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: L, 23-20 against Colts

Stats: 22-of-38, 290 yards, one TD

Analysis: Tannehill got into a shootout with fellow rookie Andrew Luck. Tannehill nearly matched his rookie counterpart throw for throw but fell just short in the fourth quarter. Tannehill deserves a lot of credit for playing well on the road and overcoming a left leg and quad injury to have another good game. Tannehill showed toughness, poise and a strong arm. Even in defeat, he continues to impress.

Grade: A-

This week’s winner: Tannehill (three points)

Second place: Fitzpatrick (two points)

Overall standings

No. 1: Ryan Tannehill (19 points)

No. 2: Mark Sanchez (18 points)

No. 3: Ryan Fitzpatrick (15 points)

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

October, 31, 2012
10/31/12
5:00
PM ET
This was tricky week to do our "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch." Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was injured and Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was on a bye.

However, the show must go on to determine the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East.

Let’s get to it.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: L, 30-9 against Dolphins

Stats: 28-of-54, 283 yards, one TD, one INT

QBR: 12.1

Thoughts: Sanchez did not continue the momentum he had against the New England Patriots. The Jets fell behind early and Sanchez had another dud. Most of his production came in garbage time and he had two big turnovers (one fumble, one interception). The Jets are sticking with Sanchez after the bye week. The Jets are 3-5 and would need to get extremely hot to make a playoff run. That seems unlikely with the way they're playing.

Grade: D+

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

Result: W, 30-9 against Jets

Stats: 2-of-5, 18 yards

QBR: 50.4

Thoughts: Tannehill was injured in the first quarter and never returned to the game. Jets linebacker Calvin Pace sacked Tannehill and injured the quarterback's left knee and quad. You can’t grade Tannehill on less than one quarter of work. Sanchez lucked out this week.

Grade: Incomplete

This week’s winner: Sanchez (three points)

Second place: Tannehill (two points)

Overall standings

No. 1: Sanchez (18 points)

No. 2: Tannehill (16 points)

No. 3: Fitzpatrick (13 points)

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
5:00
PM ET
It was a bye week for the Miami Dolphins. Therefore, we are going to shorten this week’s “Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch” to just two quarterbacks.

Each player will get a bye soon so the points will even out to determine the second-best quarterback in the division behind Tom Brady. So let’s get to it.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: L, 29-26 (OT) against Patriots

Stats: 28-of-41, 328 yards, one TD, one INT

QBR: 45.1

Thoughts: This QBR baffles me. Watching the game, I thought Sanchez played well in a huge game. I was most impressed with Sanchez’s ability to throw downfield against the Patriots. He connected on nine passing plays of 15 yards or more, which is a career high according to ESPN Stats and Information. Sanchez certainly did enough to win this week. That should quiet some people calling for his job and replacing him with Tim Tebow.

Grade: B

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 35-34 against Titans

Stats: 27-of-35, 225 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

QBR: 56.7

Thoughts: How do you grade this game? Fitzpatrick was good through three quarters but had one awful pass in the fourth quarter that led to Tennessee’s game-winning drive. Is Fitzpatrick the biggest reason the Bills lost? No. But if Fitzpatrick doesn’t make that throw Buffalo probably wins. I would like to see Fitzpatrick throw the ball downfield more to keep defenses honest, but that’s not his strength.

Grade: B-

This week’s winner: Sanchez (three points)

Second place: Fitzpatrick (two points)

Overall leader: Sanchez (15 points)

Second place: Ryan Tannehill (14 points)

Third place: Fitzpatrick (13 points)

There is not much that separates these three quarterbacks so far this season. Stay tuned as the race to be the second-best quarterback in the division behind Brady heats up.

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

October, 17, 2012
10/17/12
1:30
PM ET
The race for the No. 2 quarterback in the AFC East continues. We have a three-way tie in the division as Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Tannehill have all collected three victories this season.

So who is winning the individual race? Check out our latest installment of the “Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch.”

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Results: W, 35-9 against Indianapolis

Stats: 11-of-18, 82 yards, two touchdowns

QBR: 86.6

Thoughts: This is the ground-and-pound style the Jets want to play this season. However, everything must work around Sanchez, such as the running game and defense. That was the case in Sunday’s blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets ran for 252 yards and Sanchez only needed to throw for 82 yards. New York’s defense also didn’t allow a touchdown. Sanchez didn’t have to do much, but he didn’t make any mistakes. Two of Sanchez’s 11 completions were for touchdowns.

Grade: B

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Results: W, 19-16 (OT) against Cardinals

Stats: 18-of-32, 153 yards

QBR: 31.8

Thoughts: The good news is Fitzpatrick didn’t turn over the football. The bad news is Fitzpatrick also didn’t throw any touchdowns. The Bills have become a dink-and-dunk offense. Fitzpatrick is struggling to connect with the deep ball and it’s making Buffalo’s passing game very limited. Fitzpatrick has to do more for the Bills to win consistently. But Buffalo got a big win in overtime Sunday and that is all that matters this week.

Grade: C-

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Results: W, 17-14 against St. Louis

Stats: 21-of-29, 185 yards, two TDs

QBR: 60.9

Thoughts: Tannehill won his second straight game and stayed poised under pressure. The Rams are very good at rattling quarterbacks and Tannehill didn't wilt. He made enough plays to put together another winning performance. Tannehill didn't get any assistance from his running game but played well. His 29-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marlon Moore was the best pass of the day. Tannehill is getting better each week.

Grade: B

This week’s winner: Tannehill and Sanchez (three points)

Third place: Fitzpatrick (one point)

Overall leader: Tannehill (14 points)

Second: Sanchez (12 points)

Third: Fitzpatrick (11 points)

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
2:00
PM ET
The race to determine the second-best quarterback in the AFC East continues to heat up.

Let's check out the latest "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch" after Week 5:

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: L, 23-17 against Houston

Stats: 14-of-31, 230 yards, one TD, two INTs

QBR: 10.0

Thoughts: I disagree with this QBR. Sanchez didn't play that poorly. The completion percentage was bad, but many of those incompletions were batted balls or drops by receivers. I’m far from a Sanchez apologist, but he had virtually no supporting cast against one of the top three or four teams in the NFL on Monday night. The Jets couldn’t run the ball, Sanchez doesn’t have a lot of time to throw or good receivers to throw to. All things considered, I thought Sanchez hung in there and did a decent job with what he has.

Grade: C+

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 45-3 against 49ers

Stats: 16-of-26, 126 yards, one INT

QBR: 44.1

Thoughts: Any time your team loses by 42 points, it's hard to provide any glowing reviews on the quarterback. Fitzpatrick wasn’t the biggest reason the Bills lost to the 49ers last week. But Fitzpatrick was not part of the potential solution. He didn’t make any big plays or complete long passes downfield to ignite his team. The Bills overall are in a funk, and it is part of Fitzpatrick's job as a starting quarterback to get his team out of it.

Grade: D

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: W, 17-13 against Bengals

Stats: 17-of-26, 223 yards

QBR: 79.7

Thoughts: Tannehill continues to show growth with another solid road performance against a decent Bengals team. Tannehill didn’t throw for a ton of yards this time but made some big-time throws and had zero turnovers. The thing I like most about Tannehill is he doesn’t appear rattled. He stands tall in the pocket and takes hits to make plays. The Dolphins can surprise some people if their rookie quarterback plays like this every week.

Grade: B+

This week’s winner: Tannehill (three points)

Second place: Sanchez (two points)

Third place: Fitzpatrick (one point)

Overall 2012 standings

First: Tannehill (11 points)

Second: Fitzpatrick (10 points)

Third: Sanchez (nine points)

The rookie is leading the three-way quarterback battle after five games. Can Tannehill keep it up?

Stay tuned next week for another installment of the "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch."

Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
5:51
PM ET
The race to determine the second-best quarterback in the AFC East continues to heat up. We are at the quarter mark of the season.

Let's check out the latest "Sanchez-Fitzpatrick-Tannehill Watch."

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Result: L, 34-0 against 49ers

Stats: 13-of-29, 103 yards, 1 INT

QBR: 2.8

Thoughts: This was an unacceptable performance from Sanchez. Yes, the running game wasn’t there, tight end Dustin Keller was out and receiver Santonio Holmes got injured during the game. But we’ve heard excuses for Sanchez for four years. He is being paid like a franchise quarterback and it’s his job to raise the level of his team through adversity. Sanchez was part of the problem Sunday and not the solution. That’s not good.

Grade: F

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Result: L, 52-28 against Patriots

Stats: 22-of-39, 350 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs

QBR: 59.1

Thoughts: As usual, it was a mixed bag from Fitzpatrick, who continues to be one of the streakiest quarterbacks in the NFL. Fitzpatrick had four touchdown passes and four interceptions. It wasn’t a good or bad performance. The big plays were nullified by the big mistakes. Fitzpatrick put in a lot of work to be more consistent. But he continues his career pattern of up-and-down play.

Grade: C

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Result: L, 24-21 (OT) to Cardinals

Stats: 26-of-41, 431 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs

QBR: 82.7

Thoughts: This was Tannehill's best game to date. He continues to show growth and did a great job going on the road and carving up a solid Cardinals defense. Tannehill found receiver Brian Hartline often and the two gave the Cardinals fits. Tannehill made a big mistake by trying to throw the ball while getting hit in overtime. That resulted in an interception that led to the Cardinals earning a game-winning field goal. But it was a good performance by the rookie overall.

Grade: B+

This week's winner: Tannehill (three points)

Second place: Fitzpatrick (two points)

Third place: Sanchez (one point)

Overall 2012 standings

First: Fitzpatrick (nine points)

Second: Tannehill (eight points)

Third: Sanchez (seven points)

Only two points separate these three quarterbacks. Stay tuned to the AFC East blog throughout the season to find out who truly is the second-best quarterback in the division.

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