By Kristian Dyer
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In what was the lowest total of any game where he played all four quarters, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t exactly make his fantasy football owners happy with 82 passing yards on Sunday against the Colts.
But Jets fans would be more than happy to see this from Sanchez here on out.
The numbers are rather mediocre at best. In this past Sunday’s 35-9 win over the Colts, Sanchez completed 11 of 18 passes for the aforementioned 82 yards and two touchdowns. But the caveat to this day was that he didn’t have any interceptions and didn’t fumble the ball. When he was pressured, which wasn’t often, he wisely threw the ball away. And when he was taken out of the game in deference to Tim Tebow and the Wildcat, he would come back in and look efficient without skipping a beat. He was smart, concise and mistake-free — a system quarterback who managed the game while he limited mistakes.
In other words, he was nothing like the Sanchez that Jets fans have grown accustomed to this season. In his past four games, Sanchez’s completion percentage in each game was below 50 percent and threw five interceptions against just three touchdowns during that stretch.
The mark for Sanchez now was set on Sunday and that was simply to be efficient. The dull, bland Sanchez that led the Jets to the win over the Colts should be perfectly fine for fans and his teammates.
He doesn’t need to win games by himself. The victory over the Colts proved one thing and that was that even without star wide receiver Santonio Holmes, the Jets don’t need to ask Sanchez to do more; he’s at his best when the ground game is clicking and the Jets can utilize the play action for short passes.
His longest pass of the day? A simple 12 yards.
With the return to health of tight end Dustin Keller and wide receiver Stephen Hill, Sanchez added two big targets who can help him move the chains. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was quiet on Sunday but through the previous five games this season he’s proven that he can make big plays and stretch the field with his speed. Wide receiver Chaz Schilens has battled injuries but when he’s been healthy he’s been a nice addition as is the recently signed Jason Hill.
And if Shonn Greene can be effective – and no one in their right mind expects him to perform like he did on Sunday where he had a career high 161 rushing yards – then the Jets can control the clock and move the ball. Sprinkle in a little Wildcat and the offense won’t be pretty but could be effective.
This is the ticket for the Jets this Sunday as they head up to Foxboro. Against the Patriots and a potent offense that can rack up points, the Jets will need to utilize time of possession. Lots of running, straight between the tackles, and methodical passing underneath will be the key, then looking to exploit a suspect New England secondary with some play-action and deep throws downfield to potentially catch the Patriots by surprise.
If Sanchez has another boring day of dink passes and crossing routes and quick out patterns, the Jets can win the game. He won’t look like a franchise quarterback in doing so and he in fact may never become one, but he can be just what the franchise needs at this very moment if he plays within himself.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and can be followed for news, insight and snarky comments @KristianRDyer.
Is Sanchez at his best when he’s simply protecting the football? Be heard in the comments below…