After a mind-blowing five interceptions on Sunday, Mark Sanchez is going to need to work on a few things before he can earn back his nickname.
"Just an embarrassing day," Sanchez said after the game, according to the New York Post. "I've never played like this. Ever. Not even close. This is bad. To be perfectly honest, I don't know if I can play any worse."
To be perfectly honest, he probably can't (though Kerry Collins has something to say about that).
Sanchez finished the day with five interceptions and zero touchdowns. He completed just 10 of his 29 passes for 119 yards. His quarterback rating: 8.3.
His dreadful play may have even inspired holder Steve Weatherford to loft his first career NFL pass into the arms of John Wendling in overtime.
Looking at the numbers, it seems that the only way the Jets could have lost the game would be if the quarterback threw five interceptions. Thomas Jones ran for 210 yards and a touchdown. Leon Washington added 99 yards on the ground and picked up another 46 yards through the air. Ultimately, a holding call on Ben Hartsock that pushed the Jets out of easy field-goal range may have caused the Jets to lose, but Sanchez's erratic play put them in that position to begin with.
The performance completed a drastic and disastrous turnaround from Sanchez, who compiled impressive numbers as the Jets jumped out to a 3-0 start this season. In those games, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 606 yards, four touchdowns and just two interceptions. In the following three games, he's completed 45 percent of his passes for 429 yards, one touchdown and eight interceptions.
In a span of 15 days, he went from a surefire pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year to a potential candidate to be replaced by Kellen Clemens. Head coach Rex Ryan said he considered making the move.
"I still believe in him," Ryan said of Sanchez. "He gives us the best chance to win and he will remain our quarterback."
In all likelihood, this is just a bump in the road — albeit an enormous one — in Sanchez's career.
"I've got to figure it out, work harder, work smarter and play a heck of a lot better," Sanchez said. "It's the first time something like this has happened to me and hopefully it's the last."
For Sanchez's sake, hopefully it is the last. For the Jets' sake, it absolutely needs to be. With that one loss on Sunday, the Jets fell out of first place and are now potentially a Week 8 loss to the Dolphins away from going strictly into wild-card.
But for Sanchez, he's not alone in his rookie struggles. As The New York Times pointed out before the season, rookie quarterbacks have had their fair share of troubles starting in the NFL. Terry Bradshaw threw 24 interceptions, Troy Aikman went 0-11 and John Elway posted a 54.9 quarterback rating (Sanchez's currently sits at 56.7).
All three of those quarterbacks have busts in Canton. To get there, Sanchez has quite a ways to go, but he'll have a welcome sight next week to get started in the right direction when the Jets travel to the West Coast to take on the Raiders.
A win in Oakland puts the Jets back on track. A loss could be cause for panic.