Mark Sanchez proved Sunday that statistics don’t mean much as long as the Jets are winning.
The second-year quarterback’s 54.7 completion percentage ranks third-lowest in the league. But his ability to complete key passes, as he has to Santonio Holmes twice in overtime the last two weeks, puts him far above mere numbers.
A fast-maturing pocket presence accounts for much of that. Sanchez twice escaped imminent sacks against Cleveland to complete third-down passes, one of which found Jerricho Cotchery for 10 yards on third-and-9 just as the receiver laid out despite a groin strain incurred during the route.
He also bought time on Holmes’ 37-yard touchdown catch despite a calf strain. The Jets do not expect Sanchez will miss the Texans game Sunday.
“Mark’s able to avoid the rush and slip and slide guys and still focus down the field,” coach Rex Ryan told reporters. “It’s impressive. It’s pocket presence. Most of your great quarterbacks have that.”
Sanchez’s poise has allowed the 7-2 Jets to win their last three games in the final seconds. And, though the Jets haven’t scored as many as 30 points since Week 4, and have won their last four by a combined 22 points, Sanchez has risen up in key moments. And let’s face it, a 5-0 road record is no fluke, despite what the overall statistics might indicate.
“That one position to me on the football field is based on wins and losses,” Ryan said. “Right now, I’d say he’s pretty darn good.”