Mark Sanchez had what most would call the normal rookie season for any quarterback. His season resembled a roller coaster with many ups and a lot of downs, but Sanchez has matured greatly in his on field production thus far on the season.
Sanchez started his sophomore campaign on a tear—if you take out the opening game against the Ravens. He did not throw a single interception through the team's first five games and helped steer one of the most potent offenses in the league.
During a four game stretch, following the Ravens debacle, the Jets scored an average of 33 points and Sanchez was responsible for eight of the touchdowns through the air. His finest moment, however, has to be the Jets come from behind victory over the Broncos.
Sanchez did not play one of his greatest games, in fact he struggled throughout. Whether it be the thin air of Denver or the fact the Broncos corners were jamming receivers at the line, Sanchez had trouble keeping drives alive.
He seemed to have happy feet in the pocket when he felt pressure and threw passes into tight coverage which he paid for with two interceptions. If this was last season things for the Jets would have went from bad to worse.
Take the Jets complete collapse against the Bills last season for example. The game occurred in midst of the Jets losing six of seven games and you could see it in Sanchez's body language. After he threw his first pick Sanchez put his head down and trudged to the sidelines like a child being punished.
It is not the sight anyone wants to see on their franchise quarterback, but it was also a learning experience for Sanchez. Yes, he threw five interceptions, but he learned the body language he conveys to his team can have a negative effect on the field.
The quarterback is supposed to be the leader, sometimes by default, just because of the high profile nature of the position. In the Denver game you saw a young man with all of 16 starts in college, grow up.
He knew he was not playing up to the standards he has been playing at all season, yet he still took command of the offense and completed crucial throws on third down to move the chains. One throw to Santonio Holmes was an out route thrown in a spot so precise that only Holmes could have caught it.
Then the game came down to a 4th-and-6. The offensive call had a trips formation to Sanchez's right with receivers moving towards the first down marker. Only one receiver went deep and it was Holmes.
Sanchez did not immediately see Holmes get open because of the pressure he faced. He spun out of the pressure and headed to his left when he spotted the corner assigned to Holmes not paying attention. He saw one on one and threw a bomb which traveled over 60 yards down the field.
It was a perfect throw, of which Holmes would have caught had he not been interfered with. The officials correctly called pass interference and on the next play the Jets pounded the ball into the end zone.
Sanchez successfully performed a drive normally reserved for the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. He may not be in their class yet, but with a touchdown to interception ratio of 9-2—they may have to make some room for a new quarterback.
Jets fans call him the "Sanchize," but if he continues his ascent in development Jets fans may be calling him a Super Bowl winning quarterback.