The New York Jets were able to get past the Arizona Cardinals with a 7-6 victory, but starting quarterback Mark Sanchez did not help the cause, and he finished the game watching on the sidelines after being benched.
Sanchez was 10-of-21 with 97 yards passing and had thrown three interceptions when head coach Rex Ryan benched him in favor of Greg McElroy, the team's third-string quarterback. Backup Tim Tebow missed the game due to injury.
The move paid off, and McElroy's first drive of his career ended in a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Cumberland. The second-year QB out of Alabama finished the game going 5-of-7 for 29 yards and a score.
While the game's only touchdown came on a pass, it was the Jets' running game that led the team to victory. Shonn Greene had 24 carries for 104 yards, while Bilal Powell gained 58 yards on 12 attempts.
Greene showed exceptional awareness late in the game when he purposely went down a few feet from the goal line with less than two minutes remaining, thereby ensuring his team a victory.
The Jets' offensive struggles will be a major storyline moving forward due to Sanchez's benching, but the Cardinals were even worse in this contest. The team gained just 137 yards in total offense, and rookie Ryan Lindley went 10-of-31 for 72 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
ESPN Stats & Info showed that the Jets should still look to improve their offensive output, as they are unlikely to win again while scoring so few points:
The Jets are now 4-111 all-time when scoring 7 pts or fewer in a game (this was 1st such win since 2003)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 2, 2012
Grantland's Bill Barnwell noted that Mark Sanchez's situation is one that would push many of us to lash out and do something unreasonable, and he gave the QB credit for keeping his composure:
Kinda impressed that Mark Sanchez hasn't run on the field and handed the clipboard he's holding to Patrick Peterson.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 2, 2012
Faux John Madden chimed in during this game to provide perspective on how awful these offenses were today. For the record, Vikings RB Adrian Petersen ended with 220 total yards, while the Jets had 289 and the Cardinals had 137:
Total Yards so far:Adrian Peterson 178, Jets 151, Cardinals 115— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) December 2, 2012
The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reported after the game that the quarterback change was Rex Ryan's decision, and that he has not committed to a starter for next week:
Rex relayed message to Sparano that he wanted to make QB change. On Sanchez: "he understood it was my call" #nyj— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 2, 2012
Rex doesn't commit to Sanchez next week: "I'll let you guys know"— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 2, 2012
ESPN radio host and avid Jets fan Mike Greenberg was simply thankful Ryan Lindley was not his team's quarterback:
Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York noted that Tim Tebow would have been an asset for the Jets in this game, but he wasn't exactly complimenting the Jets backup:
The shame of it is, Tim Tebow would win this game. Ugly ball, low-scoring, brutal on the eyes. This is his cup of tea #jets— Ian O'Connor (@Ian_OConnor) December 2, 2012