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Sunday, September 25, 2011
Mark Sanchez may have broken nose

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

OAKLAND -- New York Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez suffered a possible broken nose in a 34-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders, absorbing a blow to the face in the third quarter that forced him to wear a clear visor for the remainder of the game.

Sanchez appeared for his postgame news conference with a welt under his right eye/nose area. He said he didn't have an X-ray, but when asked if his nose is broken, he said, "I don't think so. We're still looking."

He wasn't sure how it happened or who did it, but Sanchez recalled going to the sideline, thinking, "My nose is killing me."

This was the third straight game in which Sanchez finished a game with a possible injury. He was groggy after the season opener and was tested for a concussion (the Jets said it wasn't a concussion), and he suffered a bruised throwing elbow in last week's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This was a dramatically different outcome than his previous trip to Oakland. In 2009, the then-rookie quarterback was caught on camera eating a hot dog during the waning seconds of the Jets' 38-0 win. He apologized afterward, saying he was hungry, but it irked the Raiders.

Just last week, Raiders coach Hue Jackson showed a clip of the snack to his team. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said he planned to "remind him of that during the game."

The Raiders' pass rushers had plenty of opportunities. They sacked him four times, all in the second half. The Jets, with rookie Colin Baxter making his first NFL start for the injured Nick Mangold, did a good job with pass protection in the first half. But it collapsed when they got into too many obvious passing situations.

Sanchez passed for a career-high 369 yards, but 150 came in the fourth quarter, when the Jets were trying to rally from a two-touchdown deficit. He completed 27 of 43 passes, with two touchdowns and one interception. It was a bad interception, a forced throw into the end zone from the Raiders' 24.

"That was probably a bad ball," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

If he hadn't thrown the interception, the Jets could've taken a 10-7 or 14-7 lead, and "maybe that breaks their will, who knows?"

Sanchez also misfired on a critical fourth-and-2 pass in the third quarter, throwing behind Plaxico Burress on a quick slant that would've given them a first down around the Raiders' 30 in a tie game.

"I can make those plays," Burress said.

Despite the adversity, Sanchez showed his toughness, diving for the end zone on a fourth-down scramble in the final minute. The official signaled touchdown, but it was overruled by the replay booth, which determined that a knee hit the ground before the ball crossed the goal line.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.