Jets Q&A: Sanchez laments fumble

Tim Tebow runs off the field after a

Tim Tebow runs off the field after a game against the San Francisco 49ers. (Sept. 30, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

What did Mark Sanchez say about his fumble late in the first half?

He summed it up perfectly: "That was a huge mistake on my part." Once Sanchez didn't see an open receiver, he took off with the ball. Unfortunately for the Jets, he didn't hold on to it as he was being sacked by 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith. The Jets, who trailed 7-0, were in field-goal range at the 25, but the drive died when 49ers tackle Jason Smith recovered the ball.

"That can't happen," Sanchez said. "It should be 7-3 at halftime." Rex Ryan agreed, calling the fumble "a huge mistake." He credited Sanchez for being competitive and trying to make a play, "but in that area, you just have to protect the football," Ryan said.

Why did the offense struggle so much against the 49ers?

"That's a good question," Ryan said. "I don't know. We couldn't convert a third down, we couldn't protect, and we struggled running the football. Other than that, I don't know."

How did Tim Tebow feel when frustrated fans chanted for him to replace Sanchez late in the game?

Tebow said he took it in stride and stayed focused. Asked if he'd prefer an expanded role, the backup toed the company line -- as usual. "I always get excited with whatever they ask me to do,'' he said.

Tebow said there is no need for him to discuss the quarterback situation with Sanchez before it becomes a potential source of controversy.

"Me and Mark have a great relationship and we're not worried about that,'' he said. "We're not worried about what others are saying . . . I think our relationship is a lot deeper than that.''

Does Stephen Hill feel any pressure to step in for Santonio Holmes?

The rookie wide receiver did not play because of a hamstring injury. But according to Hill, he's "ready to rock and roll." Hill said he talked to Holmes on the field after Holmes went down with a foot injury.

"It was real tough," Hill said. "I shook his hand. Once he left the field, he was like, 'It's time for you to get back out there. It's time for you to get back on the field.' "

How is Dedrick Epps?

The Jets began the day without their best tight end (injured Dustin Keller) and closed it with backup Epps on crutches. After Epps caught Tebow's only pass (a 9-yarder) in the second quarter, 49ers safety Dashon Goldson slammed into his knee. He fumbled, one of the Jets' four turnovers. Epps wouldn't speculate on the severity of the injury before his MRI Monday.

Did former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs talk any smack?

Jacobs, who hurt his knee on his first rushing attempt of the preseason, was inactive for a fourth straight week. But he did have a chance to reconcile with Ryan, at whom Jacobs was last seen shouting, "Shut up, fat boy!'' after the Giants-Jets game last Dec. 24.

"I talked to Rex before the game,'' Jacobs said. "We shook hands and hugged like brothers. He said to me, 'I'm in a different weight class now.' I said he looks good. I wish him and his team a lot of luck.''

Why did 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick decide to slide at the end of the game instead of scoring?

Some might have expected Kaepernick to pour on the points late in the fourth quarter, but his decision to kneel on the final two plays was calculated. "That's one less kickoff we have to cover," said Kaepernick, who rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on five Wildcat carries. "That's one less time we have to go out on defense. We can end the game with no more collisions or chance of injury."

With Neil Best

and Arthur Staple

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