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BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 2: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets reacts after being sacked by the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
You couldn't swing a dead cat this summer without hitting someone telling you that it was imperative that Mark Sanchez showed marked improvement as a quarterback this season. Because of that we thought we'd check in weekly to see how the Sanchize is progressing toward that goal.
Well, that was ugly.
It has been about 36 hours since the Jets got steamrolled in Baltimore by the Ravens and the stench hasn't even started to disappate from the carcass left behind. For the first time since he took over as coach and chief mouthpiece, Rex Ryan, in a rare show of honesty over optimism, didn't even try to put a positive spin on the game in his day after meeting with the media.
Well, almost no positive spin. When asked about the play of Mark Sanchez, Ryan praised his toughness and said that even Joe Montana would have had a bad day when facing the kind of pressure that Sanchez faced on Sunday night.
Ryan is probably right and you need only look back to Week One to see that the Ravens made Ben Roethlisberger look just as bad as they made Sanchez look.
It is a very good defense that knows how to maximize its advantages, including the inate understanding of how you keep attacking a wounded offense until there's no life left.
Funny, there's a memory of the Jets hiring a guy who built a defense like that down in Baltimore. Goes by the name of Ryan and made a lot of noise about building a defense like that in these parts, wonder what happened to that guy?
Getting back to the topic at hand, the inability of the offensive line to block a soul (and the complete lack of a running game) certainly gives Sanchez a built-in excuse for his horrendous night. It doesn't do a thing to excuse how he responded to an adverse situation, however.
Sanchez quit on Sunday night. It's understandable, because who among us wouldn't raise the white flag when being mauled every single time you dropped back to pass, but it doesn't change the fact that Sanchez simply stopped trying to make plays.
He threw passes behind receivers, at their feet and miles above their heads just so he could get the ball out of his hands and avoid another hit from Haloti Ngata or Ed Reed. The fear was in his eyes when he failed to come up with the ball on two snaps from Colin Baxter and it got to the point that the Jets would have been better off just punting on first down so that they could take their chances against Sanchez's doppelganger Joe Flacco.
Sunday night might well have been a bridge too far for any quarterback, but it is hard to imagine that Montana would have reacted to it the way that Sanchez did.
His body language sent the same message as his passes and that message was that he wanted to take his ball and go home because the other kids were being mean.
The play was troublesome, but the unwillingness to stand and fight might have been even worse. This team is in crisis right now and they need a leader to help them see their way through to the other side.
Sanchez showed no willingness to be that leader on Sunday night. And that pushes the Meter to the lowest level we've recorded all season.