Mark Sanchez’s numbers on Sunday were so bad that they set the new standard for awfulness for ESPN’s new Total Quarterback Rating.
You may have heard about this new metric, devised by ESPN Stats & Information to rate quarterback performance on a scale from 0 to 100. It’s more useful than the NFL’s passer rating because, among other things, it looks at not just the results for a quarterback (passing, running, sacks, fumbles, and penalties), but the situations in which those results occurred (touchdowns to put a team ahead late have greater value than yards gained with a team winning by 30).
Over 46 plays, Sanchez rated an 0.6, the worst of any quarterback involved in 40 or more plays in a game over the last four seasons. There were more than 900 such games over this stretch.
Coincidentally, of the five worst quarterback performances by this metric, two of them came against the Jets. Josh Freeman scored a 0.9 against them in Week 14 of the 2009 season (Sanchez broke the mark set by Freeman and Raiders quarterback Andrew Walter in 2008). Two weeks earlier, Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme tallied a 1.6 against Rex Ryan’s defense.
Plug Sanchez’s game from Sunday into the NFL’s passer rating, and it’s not quite the standard-setter. His 30.5 ranks tied for 13th-worst among Jets quarterbacks in the history of the franchise, via a search of data on Pro-Football-Reference.com (setting the minimum to 30 pass attempts).
Joe Namath, who has had a lot to say about Sanchez’s performance these first four weeks, actually had two games -- one at the beginning and one at the end of his Jets career -- with a lower passer rating.
In a 24-0 loss to the Oilers on Oct. 16, 1966, Namath was 16-for-37 with no touchdowns and four interceptions, for a passer rating of 14.6 (second-worst in Jets history, just behind a Richard Todd game from 1977).
In a 38-24 loss to the Patriots, Namath was 16-for-36 with five interceptions, for a passer rating of 29.2.
Namath also had something Sanchez has yet to have -- a no-touchdown, six-interception game in a 43-0 loss to the Dolphins on Oct. 19, 1975.