The Mark Sanchez error may be over in New York.
The Jets quarterback was benched Sunday in favor of third-stringer Greg McElroy in the third quarter of New York’s Week 13 home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona entered the contest on your ordinary, average, everyday seven-game losing streak.
McElroy, in his first action as an NFL quarterback, promptly led the Jets to their only points of the game. He capped a 69-yard drive with a 1-yard TD connection to tight end Jeff Cumberland. The Jets held on to win the dreadful contest, 7-6.
In other words, in one drive, McElroy, a guy who had never taken an NFL snap, produced more points than Sanchez did in nearly three full quarters against a bad team.
Sanchez defined dreadful himself during the contest against what was, admittedly, one of the NFL’s better defenses (No. 2 in Defensive Passer Rating).
He completed 10 of 21 passes for 97 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT and a 21.4 rating.
A 21.4 rating sucks, for those of you keeping score at home.
Sanchez's performance was so ugly he was even outplayed by the awful Ryan Lindley, the Arizona rookie making his second NFL start (10 of 31, 72 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 28.0 rating).
Lindley and the Cardinals averaged just 1.7 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt – and still largely looked better than Sanchez.
McElroy was put behind center ahead of Tim Tebow, who was inactive for the game, recovering from a rib injury.
Rex Ryan, in benching Sanchez, finally agreed with what the Cold, Hard Football Facts have been telling us for years: Sanchez sucks, and wasn't getting any better here in his fourth NFL season.
Sanchez, the former first-round pick, taken by the Jets No. 5 overall in the 2009 draft, has quite never lived up to the expectations.
Sanchez entered the Cardinals game this season:
- Completing just 55.4 percent of his passes
- Averaging 6.7 YPA
- Throwing 12 TD against 10 INT
- With a passer rating of 75.6
All those numbers might have been acceptable in 1976, at the depths of the Dead Ball Era. But all are utterly unacceptable, losing numbers in this day and age when elite QBs are:
- Completing 70 percent of passes
- Averaging 8.0 YPA
- Throwing 3 to 4 TD for every INT
- Posting passer ratings over 100
Conor Orr, Jets beat man for the New Jersey Star-Ledger tweeted afrer the game: “Rex and Sanchez just finished a loooong conversation at his locker. Looked like it got a little heated.”
Doesn’t sound like Sanchez will be back under center next week when the Jets head to Jacksonville.
Nor should he be.
The reality is that he can’t play QB at an acceptable NFL level. The numbers, the stats, the data, the Cold, Hard Football Facts, say it all.
Sanchez has averaged 6.5 YPA for his career with a 73.7 rating. Bottom line: he’s simply not a good quarterback. In fact, he’s a bad quarterback.
And he got a longer leash than most bad quarterbacks for no other reason than he was “Rex Ryan’s guy” and the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft.
A second-stringer who came in off the bench and played as badly as Sanchez did would never get more than one or two starts in his career.
Sanchez has given three and a half seasons.
We call that the power of pedigree: a guy with a big name gets a long statistical leash, the assumption that he will finally live up to expectations. A guy without a big name is put on a short leash, the assumption that he sucks and will never improve.
The Cold, Hard Football Facts, by the way, anticipated McElroy’s inevitable appearance as the Jets quarterback back in Week 1 in our Bills-Jets real and spectacular pick at CHFF Insider and on the Week 1 debut episode of CHFF radio at Patriots.com.
We even discussed McElroy’s likely appearance as the Jets quarterback with Adam Schefter on CHFF radio back on Oct. 3. Schefter dismissed the idea.
But it was pretty obvious, given the sub-par passing stats posted by both Sanchez and Tebow, that sooner or later the Jets would have to make a change to McElroy, if only to give it a shot.
McElroy, by the way, was a pretty fair country quarterback during his days at Alabama, among the most efficient passers in the nation while leading the Crimson Tide to a national title in 2009.
But more on him later this week.
For now, an error is over for the Jets.