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Sanchez soars to historic heights

1/19/2011

Mark Sanchez has made a lot of statistical history in his brief tenure as New York Jets quarterback.

Mark Sanchez

Sanchez

Sanchez now has two of the top four games, in terms of passer rating, for the Jets in postseason play. He finished with a 127.3 rating in a 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday. That's actually not the best of his five postseason games -- he posted a 139.4 rating in his playoff debut, in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2009 AFC wild card round.

Sanchez is the third quarterback to throw at least three touchdown passes against Bill Belichick's Patriots in the playoffs (since 2000). The others were Jake Delhomme and Donovan McNabb in losses in Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX respectively.

Highest Passer Rating by QB
Jets Postseason History

Sanchez had three touchdown passes, tying the Jets single-game postseason record. He did so in Gillette Stadium, where he'd previously thrown one touchdown and seven interceptions.

The Jets won partly because Sanchez excelled when the Patriots blitzed.

Based on our video review, New England blitzed 40 percent of the time when Sanchez dropped back to pass and he went 6-for-10 for 108 yards, two touchdowns and a 136.7 passer rating in those instances.

The Patriots had trouble when they blitzed all season. Their 103.2 opponents passer rating against the blitz, during the regular season, ranked third-worst in the NFL.

Other notes from this contest include:

• The win by the Jets means that the No. 6 seed in both conferences have advanced to the Conference Championship. This is the second time under the current playoff format that the No. 6 seed beat the No. 1 seed in both AFC and NFC Divisional round and first since 2008.

• The Jets become the second team to beat Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in consecutive games. The 2002 Titans did it in the regular season.

• Tom Brady extended his streak of playoff games with a passing touchdown to 17, the second-longest in postseason history. However, Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have lost three consecutive playoff games. Brady finished 29-45 for 299 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, snapping a streak of 339 attempts without an interception (first in his last 340 attempts). In each of his losses to New York teams in the postseason (the other being to the Giants in the Super Bowl), Brady was sacked five times.

• The Patriots are the fourth team in NFL history to win at least 14 regular-season games but lose their first playoff game. The last time a team with 14 or more wins lost, the 2006 Chargers lost to the Patriots.

• The Jets sacked Brady five times to set a franchise record for sacks in a playoff game.

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the second time in NFL postseason history that a game featured three scoring plays in the final two minutes of regulation.

The only other one is the "Music City Miracle," the 1999 AFC wild card game between the Bills and Titans.