Mark Sanchez rollercoaster ride continues

Mark Sanchez.
GETTY IMAGES

After a week of intense criticism in the wake of a fourth quarter collapse in Denver, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez shook off a rocky first half to put together arguably the best two quarters of football he’s played this season.

Sanchez’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes late in the fourth quarter gave the Jets yet another improbable win when they looked down and out.

Few Jets fans saw the second-half performance coming from Sanchez, especially after a brutal first half where the quarterback was far from adequate.

“It wasn’t the best first half, but we knew if we kept hanging in there. We have complete faith in Mark. He’s done it before,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “I think he’s had more over the last two years  — fourth-quarter comebacks — than any quarterback in the league. I think that speaks enough about Mark.”

The up and down performance by Sanchez underscored the Jekyll and Hyde trademark of the third-year quarterback. On the Jets’ opening two drives, Sanchez failed to complete a pass in his first four attempts. He rebounded to lead a 10-play, 78 yard touchdown scoring drive on their next possession, including a three-yard pass to tight end Dustin Keller. But as if that was all a tease, Sanchez threw an interception into double coverage on the next drive.

Down 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter, Sanchez orchestrated the 12-play drive that gave the Jets the lead, weaving the offense down the field 82 yards and then coolly and masterfully finding Holmes for the go-ahead touchdown.

“It felt good. We’ve been in that situation before; we rep it all the time in practice,” Sanchez said. “Game’s on the line, we had to win and we made plays to do it.”

But Sanchez hasn’t done “it” much this season and that’s part of the problem.

Earlier this week, Ryan gave roughly a half-dozen snaps in practice with the first team to backup quarterback Mark Brunell, a player who has thrown less than a handful of meaningful passes in meaningful games during his two years with the Jets. Ryan admitted it was a gimmick designed to get Sanchez “hot under the collar,” but the young quarterback took exception to the stunt. After the interception today and some poor passes in the third quarter, the boos rained down on him from the Jets faithful at MetLife Stadium.

“This is a lot bigger than that. That’s a motivational tool Rex uses; you have to take it all in stride,” Sanchez said. “This game and this season is a lot bigger than that.”

While it is impressive that Sanchez turned in a solid performance in the win — going 9-of-15 for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the second half — at some point he has to put in a complete four quarters for his team. The Jets are giving him adequate protection and the ground game, led by Shonn Greene averaging six yards a carry, is giving him the balance on offense that is needed.

Ryan called Sanchez a “stud” and the “Sanchise” after the game in his press conference, but for Sanchez to live up to those names he has to start playing that way every game, all-game. For now, the 6-5 Jets can revel in the second half display by their quarterback.

“That second half, Mark was poised back there, made some huge plays,” Ryan said. “It was big time. That’s what we always said about Mark, that he’s at his best in big moments and certainly today you can’t get a bigger moment than what we had.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…