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Mark Sanchez wants to put Pats debacle behind him

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Justin

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Justin Francis of the New England Patriots during the first half of their Thanksgiving Day game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots won, 49-19. (Nov. 22, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez has no choice but to laugh at himself along with the rest of the world.

Even he knows "the play" -- you know the play we're talking about -- will live in infamy and be a fixture in blooper highlight reels for years.

But at least Sanchez is a good sport about it.

"I saw the cartoon. That was pretty good," he said with a smile Wednesday, referring to a recent illustration in a tabloid. "It's got like my head stuck in Brandon [Moore's butt] and there's the chalk line."

Sanchez's infamous face plant into the rear end of his offensive lineman and subsequent fumble that was returned for a touchdown will forever encapsulate the Jets' 49-19 loss to New England on Thanksgiving night. The Jets were humiliated on their home turf, as three turnovers in 52 seconds led to 21 points for their AFC East rivals.

But last week is "over and done with," Sanchez said. Mentally, he and his teammates have no choice but to move on if they hope to finish the season 5-0.

"Do I think we can win five games? Of course. That's how optimistic I am," he said. "That's how everybody thinks in here. But the key to winning five is just winning the first one, and then let the rest take care of itself."

On Sunday, the Jets (4-7) will host the Cardinals, who rattled off four wins to start the season before losing their next seven. But for the Jets to win at home, Sanchez and the offense will need to eliminate turnovers.

He has 41 turnovers the past two seasons (28 interceptions, 13 fumbles), according to Elias Sports Bureau, and six of his 10 interceptions this season have come in the red zone. But Rex Ryan went out of his way Wednesday not to be overly critical of his quarterback.

"We've made mistakes in the red zone and it hasn't just been Mark Sanchez making a mistake," Ryan said. "There's been other mistakes: Is it a route? Is it a dropped pass? A protection error? Sometimes a lot gets blamed on the quarterback, but sometimes there are other things involved as well."

Asked about his turnover tendency, Sanchez said: "[The coaches] know I'm working my butt off and trying to eliminate turnovers. Sometimes they happen and it's my job to fix that and completely eliminate them, especially in these last five games. That's going to be critical."

Those mistakes proved costly against New England. A promising first-quarter drive ended at the Patriots' 23-yard line when Sanchez threw an interception. A Patriots touchdown soon followed, along with many unforgettable moments for the Jets -- and perhaps none greater than Sanchez's butt-fumble.

"I guess more stunned than anything," said Sanchez, who wasn't hurt on the play. "Like a car accident, like, 'Whoa. What just happened?' And then the ball's gone. It was weird, man."

Sanchez said he tried to slide after messing up the planned handoff to fullback Lex Hilliard, but his head slammed off Moore's backside instead.

"It's embarrassing," said Sanchez, who added that teammates have been "pretty cool" about the play. "I'm trying to do the right thing. It's not like I'm trying to force something and I start to slide and I slide into the worst spot you possibly could: right into Brandon Moore."

But perhaps, in time, the footage won't be so cringe-worthy to Jets fans -- and most of all, to their quarterback.

Said Sanchez: "Hopefully, we'll laugh about it later."

New York Sports