Breaking Down Mark Sanchez's History vs. Buffalo Bills

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IDecember 28, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets calls a play against the Buffalo Bills during their season opener at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Bills 48-28. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

When wondering how on Earth the New York Jets could possibly turn back to Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback following the concussion to Greg McElroy, a few things come to mind.

The first is that, as Rex Ryan said at his press conference, the announcement wasn't made until Thursday, leaving the Jets three days and two practices to prepare for the Bills with a different quarterback.

The second is his history against the Buffalo Bills, especially his recent history.

He got off to a bad start against the Bills in his career, with a five-interception game marking his first and only loss to Buffalo.

Since then, Sanchez has only thrown three picks and has won all five games. In fact, Sanchez had one of the best games of his career against the Bills in Week 1 this year (how long ago does that feel like?).

In that game, Sanchez went a remarkable 19-for-27 passing (70.4 percent) for 266 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and a 123.4 passer rating.

It's much easier to play that well when the opposing defense only pressures you six times on 27 drop-backs (22.2 percent), and we saw what can happen to a defense when it's unable to get pressure on Sanchez while playing a vanilla coverage scheme on the back end.

Even a rare blitz from the Bills (one of only six blitzes on the day) didn't get the job done, with Sanchez being afforded enough time in the pocket to find wide receiver Jeremy Kerley on a deep flag route.

All he had to do was wait for Kerley to hit his break, and with the massive void in the defense, this throw was elementary.

If the Bills are going to make it that easy with simple coverage, Sanchez could have another big day against them.

Clearly, Sanchez and the Jets offense as a whole have gone in the wrong direction since that game, but the Bills have been average at best against the pass this year.

That being said, while the Bills have not won in nearly a month, their defense is hardly to blame for that. In Buffalo's past three games, they've allowed quarterbacks Sam Bradford, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill to go 46-for-87 passing (52.9 percent) for 544 yards (6.3 YPA), four touchdowns, one interception and an 82.7 passer rating.

Those marks aren't devastating, by any means, but they are all better than the Bills' season averages.

Given the way Sanchez has played against the Bills in his career, though, this is the perfect opportunity for him to right some of the wrongs from this season, send the Jets into the offseason on a high note and help them generate at least some excitement for the 2013 season.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.