Despite Struggles, Jets’ Rex Ryan Still A Believer In Mark Sanchez

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…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • stein

    The officiating was horrible and unbelievably biased. If you saw the game or the replays, Sanchez’s arm was in CLEARLY in forward motion as he was Blind-Sided by an Unblocked defender. This was an incomplete pass, not a Sanchez fumble! The offensive line is at fault for this play for failing to block the untouched blitzing safety, giving Sanchez NO time to even complete 3 step drop backs during the entire game.
    The other fumble, which the media attempts to blame on Sanchez was also not his fault, but that of the 2nd string Center, Baxter, who clearly hiked the ball on at the wrong time during the cadence. (Baxter was taken out of the game for a couple of plays after this to “gain his composure.” This was obvious as well, but the media ignores it.
    Another important referee Referee F-up was failing to call an obvious roughing the kicker (punter) which would have given the Jets a first down.
    Not that the 1st down would have mattered considering the embarrassing offensive line… I even hesitate to blame Mark Sanchez for his one interception, being that he had less than a second to get rid of the ball before being nailed by yet another untouched rusher going right up the middle.
    Does the media unfairly blame these fumbles on Sanchez in order so that Michael Vick has company for all of his countless fumbles this year? Strange how the Media never dwells on how many turnovers Vick continuously commits every game, but only on his “poor little bruised pinkie finger”…
    There is something wrong and unfair here.

  • stein

    Of corse Ryan wants to keep Mark Sanchez, he’s the best player on the team! How he’s thrown for so many yards, TD’s, (and even ties the RB’s for most rushing TD’s) is unbelievable, considering how horrible the Offensive Line has been from Game !. He had taken more punishment than any other QB in the league and not complained (ie. Cry-Baby Michael Vick, who’s O-Line is 5 times better than Sanchez’s. Not only does he have to deal with a “High School” level O-Line, but they have Zero ability to run the ball, and their WR’s drop every other ball that hits them right in the hands. Sanchez should have faked an injury in the 1st Quarter, (like Vick would have done), after realizing that his O-Lines was totally incapable protecting him from getting blind-sided by unblocked defenders on basically every play. The guy is tough as nails, and Jets fans should be seriously grateful he was not seriously hurt. I wish it were possible for the Jets to draft a few Offensive linemen to play next the Center, Mangold when he returns. Oh, and it would be good if the Jets would learn to catch the ball, and the defense would learn to tackle. Thanks.

  • Kevin

    So, what’s up with your Wonder Boy GQ cover quarterback Jets fans? Maybe he should go into modeling and give up quarterbacking, looks like he’s better at that.

    If I’m not mistaken, was he crying after getting hit by Ngata or begging not to get hit like that again?

    Looks like this quarterback of the future is running out of steam, his 15 minutes of fame is over.

    • DOM


      • Kevin

        Hey DUMB DOM, we’ve been hearing this nonsense about the Jets BEING THE BEST TEAM since big mouth Rex came to town. Finishing with a better record then the Giants in meaningless if you don’t get the ring.

        This is football, on one cares who finishes with the best record, it’s the title that matters.

        Stop your crying & stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Right now the Jets suck & so does Sanchez, wait, Sanchez has sucked since day one, just look at his career pass rating, that tells you the hold story.

    • Matt

      Mark Sanchez just isn’t a very good quarterback. He’s had the luxury of having a great running game and O Line to protect him in the past, but now that he has been given the responsiblity of a real quarterback, he’s being exposed as a very underwhelming player.

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