Despite Struggles, Jets’ Rex Ryan Still A Believer In Mark Sanchez
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BALTIMORE (WFAN/AP) — Mark Sanchez got off the field in one piece, and that might have been the only good thing about his encounter with the relentless Ravens defense.
Sanchez was harassed, chased and battered by the Ravens, who scored three touchdowns off the quarterback’s turnovers Sunday night in a 34-17 rout of the Jets.
The Jets’ offensive line struggled to keep Sanchez upright without Nick Mangold. Fans likely won’t have to endure backups Colin Baxter and Matt Slauson next week with the All-Pro center expected to return.
“We’ve got to get better in a hurry,” Rex Ryan said. “There’s no question about it, but we’re a team and adversity is part of this business, and you’ve got to face it.”
A week ago, the Jets gave up 234 yards rushing in a loss to the Oakland Raiders. This defeat can be attributed to Sanchez, who went 11 for 35 for 119 yards with an interception, and the only score he produced was a field goal by Nick Folk after a 25-yard drive.
“He struggled mightily, there’s no question about it,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t his best day, that’s for sure, but he’s our quarterback and I believe in him.”
Listen: Ryan after bad loss in Baltimore
Baltimore’s three scores on defense were the most in franchise history. Jameel McClain took a fumble by Sanchez 6 yards for a score on New York’s first offensive play, Jarret Johnson scored on a 26-yard fumble return and Lardarius Webb put the Ravens up by 17 points in the third quarter by taking an interception 73 yards into the end zone.
The Ravens flustered Sanchez from the outset. On New York’s first play, Ed Reed caused a fumble on a safety blitz and McClain took the ball into the end zone. It was the first of four fumbles by Sanchez, three of which Baltimore recovered.
“Throughout the course of the beating, he got rattled a little bit,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “Once we hit a few times, he kind of got uncomfortable.”
Sanchez said: “I took some good shots. I just got up and I just kept playing. Nothing major. I’ll be fine.”
If Ryan was still on the Baltimore sideline, he would have loved watching the Ravens chase Sanchez all over the field. Ryan helped run the Baltimore defense for 10 years before taking the Jets job before the 2009 season.
“He created this and now he has to deal with us,” Johnson said. “It was fun.”
Not so for Ryan.
“I’ve been around football a long time and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Ryan said. “The performance by their defense was spectacular. They were coming after us. That’s a Ravens defense. It reminded me of the 2000 and 2006 defenses.”
This, however, was a one-of-a-kind performance. Three touchdowns in one game? Heck, that equaled the output of Baltimore’s defense for the entire 2010 season. The Ravens also held the Jets to 150 yards and seven first downs in taking over sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
New York (2-2) has lost seven straight to the Ravens (3-1), the last two with Ryan on the Jets sideline. New York’s touchdowns came on a 107-yard kickoff return by Joe McKnight and a 35-yard interception return by David Harris.
The Ravens got 17 points off three fumbles by Sanchez to take a 27-7 lead in the second quarter, and although the Jets cut the gap to 10, they were unable to complete the comeback.
“We all had our share in this loss,” Sanchez said. “I’m fine pointing out my mistakes; as far as my mistakes, I’ll take the blame for it.”
Down 27-17, New York got the ball on the Baltimore 27 after Joe Flacco fumbled when Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin picked up his first career sack.
On the next play, Webb picked off a pass by Sanchez intended for Santonio Holmes on the right sideline and sprinted into the end zone with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
“That interception really hurt,” Sanchez said. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
It was 20-7 before Johnson scored after Sanchez fumbled when hit by Haloti Ngata. After a replay, the officials ruled that Sanchez’s arm was moving forward, but he did not have the ball in his hand, confirming the touchdown call.
Ryan was so angry he called a timeout to vent his frustration. After speaking his mind and getting no satisfaction, Ryan stalked the sideline and threw his arms up in a display of angst.
Minutes later, though, the Jets got their own defensive score. Harris picked off a pass from Flacco and took it 36 yards for a touchdown, and New York added a field goal to close to 27-17 at halftime.
But the Jets got only two first downs in the second half.
“There are some things that need to change,” Jets wide receiver Derrick Mason said. “Until we identify the cracks, we’re going to keep having the same problems.”
Do you still believe in Sanchez? Sound off in the comments below…
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