No way Rex can put Sanchez back out there as Jets’ starter
By STEVE SERBY
Last Updated: 7:12 AM, December 18, 2012
Posted: 3:38 AM, December 18, 2012
NASHVILLE — Good riddance to Mark Sanchez and the Jets.
Mercifully, they won’t be in the playoffs, and in truth, they don’t belong anywhere near the playoffs, and Sanchez should be replaced by Greg McElroy — or even Tim Tebow — immediately.
With nothing to play for now, it is time to CAN ’chez for the last two games of this circus season.
Enough is enough.
Rex Ryan refused to commit to Sanchez next week, but the message Sanchez promised he had received about protecting the football went in one earhole and out the other.
Sanchez threw four interceptions — two for Jason McCourty and two for Michael Griffin — and fumbled a low shotgun snap with the game and the season and the playoffs on the line in a devastating 14-10 loss to Jake Locker’s godawful Titans.
“It doesn’t feel good hurting your team like that. ... It’s not a winning formula,” a somber Sanchez said.
And everyone in the locker room knows it.
“Just not playing well enough for us to win,” Sanchez said.
At a time when the Jets needed a titanic moment from him, Sanchez turned into the captain of the Titanic.
Sanchez got a gift chance at redemption after his fourth INT when Titans punter Brett Kern shanked his second punt of the night from his end zone.
And so now Sanchez was 25 yards from the end zone and playoff life with 47 seconds left.
And he fumbled away the low shotgun snap from Nick Mangold, and the season along with it.
“I gotta catch the ball,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez was 92 yards from the end zone and playoff life with 5:20 remaining.
He hit Braylon Edwards for 17 yards and now he was 55 yards from the end zone and playoff life.
A third-and-4 roughing the passer against Will Weatherspoon at the end of an incomplete pass for Mardy Gilyard meant Sanchez was 34 yards from the end zone and playoff life.
Sanchez found Bilal Powell in the right flat for 9 yards and now he was 23 yards from the end zone and playoff life at the two-minute warning.
And of course he threw off his back foot and his underthrow for tight end Jeff Cumberland was intercepted by Griffin at the 2.
“I just threw it a little late to Jeff, and I should have put it on him earlier,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez was 76 yards from the end zone and playoff life with 8:44 remaining. Two Shonn Greene plunges and he was 66 yards from the end zone and playoff life.
And then he lofted a rainbow too far down the right sidelines into double coverage for Edwards, and Griffin looked like Willie Mays without the basket catch for the interception.
Sanchez was 61 yards from the end zone and playoff life with 11:45 remaining. He threw high over the middle for Greene. He threw wide right in the right flat for Konrad Reuland. He hit Cumberland for 8 yards on third-and-10. Punt.
Sanchez, third-and-7 at his 33 following a false start against Jason Smith, frantically called timeout with 13:50 left. He was sacked by Akeem Ayers when play resumed.
Now welcome to the even-a-blind-squirrel-finds-an-acorn part of this epic. Kern, punting out of his end zone, had shanked a 30-yarder, starting Sanchez at the Tennessee 35 with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
Joe McKnight exploded around left end for 20 yards. Then he fumbled on second-and-6 and Sanchez made what to that point was his best play of the night — a fumble recovery.
Until Sanchez stood unflinchingly inside a narrow pocket and found Cumberland, behind linebacker Tim Shaw, with a 17-yard TD pass.
Jets 10, Titans 7.
Until Locker immediately capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive with a 13-yard TD run around left end.
Titans 14, Jets 10.
When Sanchez briefly found a tad of rhythm with back-to-back completions, here came Tebow, who had gotten a full series for the first time all year in the second quarter, for one play. Brilliant. Sanchez was sacked on third-and-5.
Sanchez was 5-for-10 for 27 yards and one interception in the first half, a 16.7 quarterback rating. He was deprived of a 4-yard touchdown pass when replay showed that a diving Cumberland could not come down with a low throw.
A fortuitous backward roll on a Robert Malone punt pinned the Titans at the 6. But not for long. Chris Johnson’s 94-yard TD romp made it Titans 7, Jets 3.
There are 8.25 million reasons you can think of today why Ryan must CAN ’chez. Referring to the turnovers — 17 picks, seven lost fumbles from his franchise quarterback — Ryan said: “It’s been killing us.” Good riddance.