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Patriots 37, Jets 16: Blame Rex, Not Sanchez

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There will be plenty of articles and blogs putting Mark Sanchez on blast this morning for a poor performance last night in the Jets biggest test of the season. Don’t count this as one of them.

Sanchez did not play well last night at MetLife Stadium. He was erratic, inaccurate, turnover prone and made a clock management error toward the end of the first half. But putting all the blame on him — as his bombastic coach seemed to do at halftime — doesn’t tell the full story.

When Mark Sanchez took a timeout before a third-and-goal with 1:24 left in the first half, Ryan was angry, already obviously thinking about having to give Tom Brady the ball back with plenty of time for another drive.

Despite Sanchez scoring a touchdown on the next play, Ryan told NBC’s Michele TaFoya that the timeout was the “stupidest play in NFL history.”

Way to throw your quarterback under the bus, Rex.

New York lost the game for a multitude of reasons. Their offensive line couldn’t block Andre Carter (4.5 sacks, a Patriots team record), their defense was unprepared to stop Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (8 catches, 113 yards, 2 touchdowns), their special teams literally dropped the ball,  and they couldn’t get a stop after Sanchez connected with Plaxico Burress to cut the deficit to 23-16.

The fact that Rex Ryan was upset with his quarterback for calling a time out to make sure of the play call on a third-and-goal shows how far he still has to go in becoming a really good head coach. Defensive coordinators can get upset about giving the opposing coaches extra time to drive. A head coach blasting his quarterback on national television after he scored a touchdown? You can’t make this stuff up.

This isn’t meant as an apology for the performance of Mark Sanchez. He wasn’t good enough last night, nor has he taken the steps forward the franchise needs him to so far this season. His stat line — 20/39, 306 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT — is not going to get it done against Tom Brady.

But neither is allowing 389 yards to New England’s offense. Neither is showing zero faith in your defense by making an ass of yourself and the pursuit of points on offense. Neither is having a defensive game plan that doesn’t account for one of the leagues most dangerous tight ends. Neither is having a head coach who basically declares the team’s chances of winning the division dead despite only being back one game (as well as a head-to-head tie breaker) of New England with seven to go.

Mark Sanchez did not do enough to win last night, but Rex Ryan lost the football game.

Up next: New York travels out to Denver to take on Tim Tebow and the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. Listen to the game on 105.7 The Hawk.


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