First win in the books for rookie Sanchez as Gang Green rolls in Houston.
If they all go like this one, then Mark Sanchez can start practicing his Hall of Fame induction speech right now…and Rex Ryan can get ready to accept the Lombardi trophy after the Super Bowl.
Though perhaps it's a tad early to be talking about lifetime achievemnet awards, Sanchez did perform exceptionally well in his NFL debut, throwing for 272 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans on Sunday, leading New York to a 24-7 win. He looked poised in the pocket, recovered nicely after throwing his first NFL interception and proved to be a capable leader on the field.
He had some help, though, from Thomas Jones who, after a slow start, rushed for two touchdowns en route to amassing 107 yards on the ground. Jerricho Cotchery provided an excellent safety valve for the young quarterback as did Dustin Keller (they combined for 10 catches.) Chansi Stuckey hauled in the rookie's first touchdown pass on a 30 yard hookup.
Ryan's defense, without Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis, was equally impressive. They harrassed Houston quarterback Matt Schaub all day, sacking him twice and intercepting him once. They limited All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson to just 4 catches for 35 yards and Steve Slaton to only 17 rushing yards.
Their next task against the New England Patriots should be a far stiffer test, though. Bill Belichick must be licking his chops, thinking about all the ways he could confuse the wet behind the ears Sanchez.
Still, the kid's got poise, confidence and attitude….things that just can't be taught. Every new test will make him stronger and Jet fans can't wait to see him mature.
Perhaps all the way to Canton someday.
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Written by Frank Mazzola