It was a matchup more consumed by the Jets’ melodrama than football itself.
Mark Sanchez was named the starting quarterback earlier in the week, despite being benched in the third quarter in Week 13 after failing to deliver the Jets any points in more than 40 minutes of football.
The former fifth overall pick has been a contributing component to an offense that ranks 31st in the NFL this season under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. He doesn't fit the bill of an offensive guru, but the Jets' highly inefficient offense should be mostly attributed to the team's embattled "starting quarterback."
Sanchez has been greatly ineffective as a pro quarterback in 2012 and has become the poster boy for the most dysfunctional team in pro football.
He's defied reasonable expectation by regressing beyond his rookie and sophomore seasons, and his numbers prove it.
Head coach Rex Ryan has bestowed unconventional praise toward his favorite quarterback, constantly claiming for him to be a player on the rise. The Jets continuously pamper Sanchez like he's an irresistible toddler learning how to throw a football for the first time in his life.
It's true that Sanchez has the potential to be an above-average quarterback in the NFL, but his attitude spells failure. Sanchez is destitute, seemingly incapable of rising to the occasion—especially after committing turnovers. He doesn't have the bounce-back mentality necessary to rebound from game-changing mistakes.
He's responsible for 45 giveaways over the past two seasons, a feat that finally relegated him to the bench for a majority of the second half in Week 13.
The 26-year-old want-to-be golden boy defines mediocrity in the NFL.
He has four career playoff road wins in total, which ties him for second all time in that category—Eli Manning is the only quarterback in NFL history to register more road wins in the postseason with five.
Sanchez has thrown 64 interceptions in 60 starts to rival his 67 touchdown passes. His total quarterback rating (QBR) is a career-low 28.4 in 2012, which concisely indicates why the Jets are an extremely inefficient offensive team.
The "Sanchize" is regressing at a tremendous pace. “Mark Sanchez” more often appears next to the names Brandon Weeden and John Skelton than the likes of Brady and Manning on the stat sheets.
He continuously gets worse while his backup anxiously waits on the sideline.
Tim Tebow most likely would have stolen the reins from Sanchez by now if it weren't for a few cracked ribs and an outrageous contract extension. Third-stringer Greg McElroy did his best anti-Sanchez impression last Sunday, driving the Jets down the field for their only points of the game; but Jets management has no intention to hand the title of starting quarterback to a seventh-round pick.
Ryan has opted to let Sanchez further devolve himself into displacement, regardless of his game play.
It doesn't matter that Sanchez was able to effectively adapt the role of game manager in the Jets' Week 14 win over the Jaguars (2-11). Jacksonville boasts a defense that ranks next to last in the NFL.
Sanchez doesn't have the psyche to lift his team to victory. It's exemplified by his sluggish body language and apathetic demeanor.
Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski authored a tweet expressing his opinion about Sanchez after the Jets' Week 1 victory over the Bills (5-8) and later said, "Sanchez doesn't love football and it shows.
His message is arrogant, but his point is precise.
Jets fans have grown accustomed to watching Sanchez chew his mouth guard on the sidelines with his head down, aimlessly buried into the playbook as if something is going to change on the proceeding possession.
It's not as if Sanchez deserves the entirety of the blame for the Jets' tailspin into mediocrity, but it's not like he's done much to command respect since that liberating night on January 11, 2011, when the Jets upset the Patriots in the playoffs.
That was the pinnacle of Sanchez' short-lived career. He's still the starting quarterback for the Jets, but that's because he has to be.
After all, he's guaranteed $8.25 million in 2013. This means that Ryan decided to start Sanchez in Jacksonville because of dollar signs and not because the overpaid quarterback gives the team its best chance to win.
The Jets have endured a cataclysmic quarterback debacle that started with Mark Sanchez and was exacerbated by the arrival of Tim Tebow.
The simple presence of Tebow has driven Sanchez into a pressure-cooked situation that was destined to boil over. The Jets eliminated any realistic possibility for progression when they created the least-optimal opportunity for Sanchez to succeed when they acquired Tebow.
They added a nationwide sensation and public figure of no comparison to a bubbling roster that features a starting quarterback with low-grade confidence.
The Jets have redefined quarterback mismanagement this season, but will never declare that Mark Sanchez has turned into one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL.
Just imagine the damage it would do to his psyche.
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