New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams in the first quarter on Thursday.
Maybe all that talk about being the next Joe Namath has gone to Mark Sanchez's head. He had the good looks and massive rookie contract before stepping foot on the field, but has decided to go even further. Prodigious interception totals were the next step, a task Sanchez has performed all too well. Now, it seems, he's moved onto having knees held together by sawdust, duct tape and the tears of a million Jets fans.
Hopefully, he remembers to include the Super Bowl win before trying to kiss an ESPN sideline reporter.
Two days after Yankees manager Joe Girardi taught Sanchez how to slide, Sanchez didn't slide and hurt his right knee while flinging himself headfirst against the Bills. Now he needs an MRI to figure out how bad he's damaged himself, but no fancy tests are required to know that Sanchez can't stay out of his own way.
No one likes to see interceptions or overthrows of open receivers, but Sanchez's inability to stop making the same mistakes over and over again is the truly worrisome part of his rookie year. He was making the same bad throws and poor reads on Thursday night that he was making in September. They didn't wind up hurting the Jets, until he made his ill-fated dive into the trainer's room.
The Jets won the game, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. If that MRI comes back with bad news, though, Sanchez's bad decision will wind up costing them their last gasp. Kellen Clemens looked horrific on Thursday night, finally answering once and for all why Rex Ryan never pulled Sanchez during the worst of his games. Maybe they can get him up to speed in time to squeak out a win against the Buccaneers, but would you really want to bet on it?
The wager on Sanchez appears to be just as risky right now. He's got talent, he's got the full support of the organization and he's got a decent team around him. He's also got self-destructive tendancies that would make Robert Downey Jr. blush. If can follow Downey's lead and put those bad habits behind him, there's no reason to think he can't headline blockbusters and win awards.
Time will tell, but nights like Thursday make you think the chances are less than zero.