The ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ of Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez.

If the Jets are going to be a special team then quarterback Mark Sanchez needs to start playing that way.

There can’t be anymore of the “Jekyll & Hyde” performances like the one that plagued him on Monday night in the Jets’ 17-3 win over the Giants. After a rocky start to the game – Sanchez completed just three of his first nine passes for 12 yards – the quarterback settled down to finish with a more respectable 8-of-16 for 64 yards and one touchdown.

“It was definitely a slow start,” Sanchez said.

But Monday night underscored that even with all the new, high-profile toys at his disposal, Sanchez can’t become an elite quarterback unless he starts to play that way. The re-signing of Santonio Holmes and bringing in Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason are all wastes if Sanchez can’t deliver them the ball in dangerous places.

The Jets can pin the disappointment of Monday night’s poor offensive display on any number of factors, but a major factor behind their anemic offense was Sanchez’s inability to scan his downfield targets and made a quick read. The third-year quarterback looked unsettled and rarely on the same page with his talented wide receivers.

The Jets won despite an offense that accumulated just 233 yards.

“I thought Mark at times threw the ball well, he had a couple balls tipped,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “I was happy with how Mark played.”

To be truthful, it was more non-stop “happy feet” from Sanchez throughout the first four possessions of the game than all-around “happy”plays. The Jets’ first four drives produced just one first down — the kind of pathetic display that puts unwanted pressure on the defense. Sanchez bobbed and weaved, missed open targets on multiple occasions and consistently rushed through his progressions.

“We have some work to do, we all know that,” Burress said. “We’ll pick it up a bit in practice, the passing game will be crisper.”

The Jets’ 7-3 first-half lead was more the result of an Antonio Cromartie 68-yard kickoff return than any brilliance from the offense.

Sanchez, picked by Ryan to be a team captain three weeks ago, looked as unsettled as at any point during his previous two years in the league. On their fifth possession of the game, Sanchez was orchestrating what appeared to be a promising push into Giants territory when he fumbled a moment after the snap, gifting the Giants a turnover.

“It was a great offense other than the ball slipping out of my hand like an idiot,” Sanchez said.

Midway through the second quarter, the Jets were down 3-0 and the Giants held a 224 to 73 edge in total offense.

That’s not to say there weren’t bright spots for Sanchez. His second quarter, 17-yard touchdown pass to Holmes capped off an efficient Jets six-play, 35-yard scoring drive. Rex Ryan’s broad strokes fail to adequately cover the underlying flaws of this team and in particular, this offense.

“We struggled to say the least, at first, but then we picked it up,” Ryan said. “Games are going to happen like that against a good defense.”

And the Jets will face plenty of defenses better than the battered and beat-up Giants if they make the playoffs this season.

A Super Bowl team will only go as far as its quarterback can take them and Sanchez is showing that he may not have come far enough to take the Jets to what would be the franchise’s second ever Super Bowl. Three completions in his first nine passes against a depleted Giants secondary is not the stuff of the Lombardi Trophy and if the Jets are going to get over the hump after consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances, there needs to be significant improvement from Sanchez.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for breaking news and updates all season long.


Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.


Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."


Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.


Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).


Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.


Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline


Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.


Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.


Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.


Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…