Monday, September 10, 2012
Drive of the Game
By Matt Ehalt
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For so many reasons, the Jets' second drive on Sunday proved to be a pivotal one for both the team and for quarterback Mark Sanchez.
After throwing an interception on his first drive, bringing back memories of 2011, Sanchez needed to rebound on the second drive. He hadn't played well in the preseason and this seemed to be a continuation. Fans likely would start screaming for backup Tim Tebow if the offense continued to struggle to score touchdowns. Sanchez needed to step up.
Facing a third-and-7 at his own 42, Sanchez hit Jeremy Kerley for a 21-yard gain that put the Jets in the Bills' territory and galvanized what became an almost unstoppable offensive attack over the next few quarters. The Bills helped out on the drive with a penalty on third down that gave the Jets a first down in the red zone, setting up the eventual score.
On a second-and-6 at the Buffalo 12, Sanchez found Kerley with a beautiful pass for a touchdown to give the Jets a 7-0 lead that they would never come close to relinquishing. The drive lasted eight plays and 61 yards.
The Jets had not scored a touchdown all preseason with Sanchez at the helm, yet it took him only two drives to score on Sunday. He'd toss two more touchdowns, both to rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill, and played a fantastic game. He picked apart Buffalo's defense as he has in the past and didn't look fazed by his mistake.
The Jets' offense had been the question mark about the team entering this game. After one drive, it seemed those questions were warranted. On the second drive, Sanchez gave the team a spark and was the catalyst for an eventual 48-point outburst that no one saw coming. Especially not the Bills, who never seemed to recover from that allowing that score.