Sunday, October 23, 2011
Sanchez overcomes early interception
By Mike Mazzeo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez overcame a shaky start to lead the Jets to another come-from-behind victory on Sunday afternoon.
Sanchez rebounded after throwing a first-quarter interception into double coverage, finishing with a career-high tying three touchdown passes -- all to Plaxico Burress -- in the Jets’ 27-21 triumph over San Diego.
“That’s kind of the way the ball bounces sometimes,” said Sanchez, who was picked off by Eric Weddle after trying to find Dustin Keller in the end zone with 3:55 left in the opening stanza. “I’m trying to get rid of the ball and didn’t put it on Dustin like I wanted to. So it’s an interception, so what. ... It’s a long game, we’ll come back and win and that’s what we did.”
The Jets offense hadn’t looked like a cohesive unit through the first six weeks of the season. But they finally established their running game, grounding and pounding their way to a season-high 162 yards -- 112 of those courtesy of Shonn Greene.
As a result, Sanchez was able to utilize playaction and quick slants to find his receivers for shorter gains. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Sanchez connected on 69.6 percent of his passes of 10 yards or fewer. He finished 18-of-33 passing for 173 yards and his first three-touchdown performance since Nov. 21, 2010 in Houston.
“I knew it was going to be a short week. I knew I’d have to bring my energy and focus and show these guys that we’re going to be on the field Sunday before you know it, so we’ve got get this work in,” Sanchez said of his mentality at practice heading into their AFC clash with the Chargers. “We got the same completions in practice that we got out here in the game, and it really showed, so I’m proud of those guys and they kept me going all week.”
Sanchez also established a new career-long when he scrambled 25 yards in the third quarter. His previous long was a 20-yard run against Green Bay on Oct. 31, 2010. Sanchez now has 278 rushing yards in his career, 99 behind Ken O’Brien for fourth place on the franchise’s all-time rushing list for quarterbacks.
But Sanchez’s biggest run of the afternoon came late in the fourth quarter, when he scrambled to convert a first down on a third-and-1 from the San Diego 11 with 2:27 remaining. After flipping the ball to the official, he pumped his fist.
The Jets had to win on Sunday -- and they did behind their 24-year-old quarterback.
“It’s important for the momentum of your football team, for the way our season’s gone, to get a win here and just build on this,” Sanchez said. “[It] didn’t start great, and it hasn’t really been our thing to start fast, but we came out with a big win.”