After fumbling 10 times, throwing 20 interceptions to just 12 TDs and stumbling through a 5-pick game, a 4-pick game and two 3-pick games, Mark Sanchez will use some selective memory when he looks back on 2009.
It’s time that we do the same.
Anybody who saw Sanchez in the AFC Championship game can appreciate what the rookie is capable of. The Jets signal caller made some confident decisions and sharp throws against his toughest foe of the season, and on the biggest stage he’s ever known, at age 23.
Against the Peyton Manning-led Colts on Sunday, Sanchez was 17-for-30, for 257 yards. He threw two TDs and was picked off only once. That interception, while it was a high throw, was only picked off because it was deflected into the air and right to a defender.
Sanchez completed an 80-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to Braylon “hands” Edwards and completed a nine-yard scoring strike to Dustin Keller as the Jets ran out to an early 17-6 lead.
The second pass was setup with a gadget pass play from Brad Smith to Jerricho Cotchery, but let’s consider that an example of the armaments Sanchez can wield. With Cotchery and Keller already in hand for a few years and the Jets admitting they’ll make an offer to Edwards, Sanchez has some weapons.
Smith is a restricted free agent in 2010, but with him returning kicks, taking some snaps under center and the team’s success, it’s a safe bet the sides will hammer out a deal.
Let’s not forget that New York has one of the most feared rushing attacks in the NFL — Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene will be a formidable duo in 2010 — that will keep defenses from loading the secondary.
For some quarterbacks, like Philip Rivers and Drew Brees, it took three years before they developed into fantasy starters. For others, like Manning, Ben Roethlisberger* and Tony Romo, it took only two years. (*Roethlisberger only played in 12 games during his second season but had 20 total TDs to only nine interceptions.)
Sanchez will have the opportunity to blossom in 2010, and based on his gutty showing Sunday, he’s ready to take advantage.
What do you think? Is Sanchez ready to break out in 2010? Will it be 2011? Or was he playing shadow games with us in the title game? Let us know in the comments.