Part 1 – An breakdown of Sanchez Dan Leberfeld
Considering the horrendous weather conditions, Mark Sanchez played very well – much better than Ben Roethisberger.
You can’t lose sight of how atrocious the weather was. The wind chill was around zero. Not great passing weather, and he threw for 233 yards, two touchdowns and had a 102.2 QB rating. That is very impressive. It was awful out there.
His first series might not have been one of his best, but perhaps it was because he was on the sideline so long at the beginning of the game because his coach deferred.
His first pass was batted down by NT Casey Hampton. He also had a pass batted down later in this possession by a blitzing William Gay.
Sanchez did have one real nice play on this drive. On third-and-10, which is never easy, he hit Jerricho Cotchery for a gain of 14 on the right side, in between CB William Gay and LB James Farrior in a zone concept. This drive ended with a short pass to J-Co way short of the first down.
The offense came out sluggish on their first drive, perhaps after freezing their butts on the bench for the first eight minutes.
Rex likes to defer because he loves his defense. But the Jets have a good defense, not necessarily a great one. If this was the 2000 Ravens, I would defer all the time, but I just don’t think this unit is on the elite level. So why not let you Sanchise quarterback have the ball first?
The second drive is one J-Co would want to forget. On the first play of the drive, the Jets ran a reverse to the wideout, and he lost four yards. I’ve never liked this play for J-Co, which has been called on a number of occasions. His speed isn’t ideal for this call. Then the drive ended a few plays later with a rare drop by Cotchery. He was wide open.
The third possession wasn’t great either. It was a three-and-out. On second down, the Sanchez threw an out to Braylon Edwards. The only problem was Edwards kept running up field. This was a major miscommunication, the kind you wouldn’t expect this deep into the season. The final play of this series ended with an incompletion, thanks to a tipped pass by DE Brent Keisel.
This was the third Steelers’ tip in a short period of time. Clearly they have a strong sense of the type of routes that Sanchez like to throw, and they are timing their jumps very effectively.
The fourth possession was an unmitigated disaster. On first down, Sanchez was sacked. On second down, he threw down the deep middle to a double-covered Cotchery. And then the play that might have decided the game. CB Ike Taylor blitzed off the corner, was unblocked, sacked Sanchez as he threw, and Gay returned it for a touchdown.
Remember when a team is blitzing, and there enough blockers for all the blitzers, one guy is the quarterback’s responsibility. Considering all the blockers were tied up, perhaps Taylor was Sanchez’s guy.
Then Sanchez was able to put together short drive at the end of the half – seven play, 44-yards – that resulted in a 42-yard field goal by Nick Folk.
The time of possession in the first half was a big problem. The Steelers had it for 21:04 and the Jets just 8:56. This was due to the Jets inability to stop the run – Rashad Mendenhall had 95 yards in the first half.
It was a tale of two halves, and we will deal with the second stanza on Tuesday.