Mark Sanchez heard the boos during the Jets' 34-0 loss to San Francisco Sunday at MetLife Stadium; he felt the pain of the injury that knocked wide receiver Santonio Holmes out of the game and out of the lineup for who knows how long, and he lost the fumble and threw the interception that stopped the two most promising drives his offense managed on a miserable day.
As he surveyed the damage, Sanchez reached the only practical conclusion for those who share the same locker room with him. "None of those [injured] guys are going to get better overnight, so it's on me to lead this team and play better than I did today," Sanchez said. "I was not as accurate as I need to be. That's got to change. It's got to get better."
Sanchez went into the game with the lowest completion percentage of any starting quarterback in the NFL and did nothing to help himself, completing 13 of 29 passes for a mere 103 yards and a pathetic average of 3.6 yards per pass attempt. He got no help from a running game that produced only 45 yards rushing or from an offensive line that allowed three sacks.
Only the return of the regular refs helped as their penalty calls provided the Jets with three of their nine first downs.
"I don't think guys' confidence is shaken," Sanchez said. "Everybody's just a little frustrated. They're upset and disappointed in themselves and our execution today.
"It starts with the QB, and I didn't play well enough for us to win."
If Sanchez's performance must serve as the platform on which to build future success, the Jets' fate is balanced on fragile underpinnings indeed. The two turnovers for which he was responsible might have been acceptable when he was a rookie, but they didn't reflect the progress expected by his fourth season.
Near the end of the second quarter, the Jets had third-and-7 at the 49ers' 25-yard line when Sanchez admitted his read on the pass called "was a little cloudy." He scrambled but neglected to tuck the ball before it was knocked free.
"That's a huge mistake on my part," Sanchez said. "I know we're in field-goal range. I took off and tried to get us a couple more yards and make it an even easier field goal, and I let go of the football. That can't happen. It should be 7-3 at halftime."
"I try to keep chance and luck out of it, but that's a pretty unlucky play," Sanchez maintained.
Asked if he's concerned about his job security based on his poor performance since the opening win over Buffalo, Sanchez said, "No, not at all."
How does he keep going with the limited firepower around him? Sanchez said, "We've been on the other end of that kind of game, and I keep telling myself that."