As we suggested Wednesday, Mark Sanchez’s NFL passer rating at the time, 80.5, good for only 24th best in the league, didn’t begin to reflect how good he is. As Sanchez demonstrated in today’s breathtaking 30-27 win over the Houston Texans, he should no longer by judged by his potential. He’s arrived.
Sanchez completed 22 of 38 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception. But it was what he did in the last 55 seconds that put an explanation point on the Jets season. If you didn’t see it, be sure to catch up with the highlights.
The Jets were trailing 27-23 with 55 seconds left and the ball at their own 28. Here’s what Sanchez did. First, a quick pass to LaDainian Tomlinson, who took the ball out of bounds. Then, over the middle to LT again for 19 yards to Houston’s 48, and a spike to stop the clock with 24 seconds left. Then, the most gorgeous play the Jets have seen all season: a perfectly thrown 42-yard sideline bomb to Braylon Edwards. Next, with 16 seconds on the clock, a perfect fade pass into the left corner of the end zone which Santonio Holmes hauled in with about an inch of real estate to spare for the win. Joe Namath at his peak never had a better 55 seconds.
It was the third straight week that Sanchez came through with the game on the line, with the previous two wins coming in overtime.
After the game, a grinning Rex Ryan told reporters, “I want to apologize to all the Jets fans for affecting the heart a little bit, but I’ll take the win.” Don’t apologize for the win, Rex, apologize for not understanding that, right now at least, this is not the same hard-running tight defense team that nearly made it to the Super Bowl last year. This is a team that is in the running for the AFC title because Mark Sanchez has the hottest hand of any quarterback in the league. Apologize for not building your game plan around him so he can put the game away early instead of having to pull it out of the fire in the final seconds.