Mark Sanchez believes deep down he can be a difference-maker. But the Jets quarterback knows in order to do that, he’s got hit plays at will.
During his Wednesday presser with reporters, Sanchez lamented one spot in particular where he fell short: his high throw in the end zone to Santonio Holmes with 10:25 left in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh.
It was the same designed rollout play the quarterback made all week in practice leading up to the rematch with the Steelers. But in a big spot, in a critical game (albeit early in the season), Sanchez didn’t come through.
“Is that play in my wheelhouse? No question,” he said. “I should have hit that. In my sleep. And I missed it.”
Sanchez said he could have stopped to make the pass, rather than throwing on the run. “But either way, I should have made the throw,” he said. “I hit it all week in practice and I missed it in the game. That one hurts cause you end up getting three points. Those kind of plays you’ve got to hit and when you don’t, it’s really too bad. You don’t get looks like that again.”
After his incompetion to Holmes, running back Bilal Powell carried the ball 5 yards up the middle. But after another incompletion (Jeff Cumberland failed to realize he was the hot read and let the ball hit him in the back), the Jets were forced to settle for a field goal.
And they never scored again.
Sanchez – who said his lower back felt good in practice -- blamed the incompletions for the lapse in scoring.
“That’s what happens when you don’t hit those,” he said, referring back to the Holmes miss. “It looks good the first week when you hit some of those deep balls, but when you don’t, sometimes you come back and it’s second and 10, third and 10 and that’s when you have to play catch up. It doesn’t always work in your favor and it’s my job to get more completions.”
Rex Ryan said there were a few communication issues with Sanchez and Holmes during the Pittsburgh, but the quarterback said they addressed miscues first thing on Monday, when Holmes approached him.
“We feel good. I think, he was looking at some stuff – I mean, he knows what to do on some of those pressures that we had. He almost out-smarted himself. He’s trying to do it and he was trying to do the right thing and so, I can understand that. And you can work with a guy like that. So it’s all good. We’re on the same page and we’ll be ready to play. He was trying so hard so it was fine. That kind of stuff happens. The effort’s there and he’s got a great attitude and we’ll be better this week.”
And even though it may not seem as though he and Holmes haven't made significant strides on the field, Sanchez said in any quarterback-receiver tandem, things don’t go 100 percent all of the time. We’d like them to…but that’s not realistic.
“The best part about it has been the way we both responded, really,” he said of his No. 1 receiver. “I really commend him on his attitude and the work ethic that he showed today in practice. Wanted to see some of those looks again, talked about it immediately on Monday and it’s easy for someone to shy away from something like that and not bring it up until I bring it up. But he was right there on Monday: ‘Hey, let’s talk. Let’s watch this. Look what I saw, what did you see? Let’s get on the same page.’ And that’s the most encouraging thing.
“He’s playing really well and when it comes to catching the ball, I know he can catch the ball. Some guys have off days and that’s the way it goes.”