Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez needed last Sunday.
It has been a season of regression for Sanchez, who was looking more like a rookie over the past few weeks than a four-year starter.
Sanchez flipped his form against the Rams, orchestrating a balanced offense and answering critics who said it was time for a quarterback change in favor of Tim Tebow.
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“It’s part of the job. It’s just the way things go when things don’t go right on the field,” Sanchez said. “That’s natural and it’s a little more enhanced here in a market like this. ... We’ve been there before. It doesn’t really affect what we’re doing.”
“I think he’s been really better at identifying fronts and everything else. He and [center Nick] Mangold do a great job communicating with each other,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “I thought he did a really nice job of that this past week.”
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Sanchez responded with a solid game after struggling the better part of the last two months. All week long, the media focused on Sanchez’s backup after a story ran where an unnamed player called Tebow “terrible.” The response from the players in the locker room only underscored that Sanchez and not Tebow was their choice to start. He played like a player with a great weight off his shoulders.
Four times this season, Sanchez has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in a game. On six occasions, his quarterback rating was below 66.6. Now, the Jets need him to play like he did a month ago in what was one of his few bright spots of the year in New England.
It was a 26-23 overtime loss, but Sanchez likely had his best game of the season. He threw for 328 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but he rarely looked like a player mired in struggles.
“Last game is last game,” Sanchez said. “We’ll put it in its place, learn from it, improve and hopefully play our best football on Thursday.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.