If the Jets don't play at a higher level than they did offensively in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Bills, they won't find themselves in the postseason for a third straight year.
At least, that's the way Mark Sanchez is looking at it.
"No question. Absolutely," the quarterback said today. "We have to play better. That’s not a winning formula."
Sanchez threw a career-high four touchdown passes, but didn't even complete 50 percent of his attempts. He connected on 17 of 35 throws, a 48.5 percent showing, and could've had more than the one first-half interception he hurled.
Sanchez nearly got picked off twice more after throwing into double coverage, and needed an acrobatic, one-handed 18-yard grab from Plaxico Burress on third-and-11 from Buffalo's 36-yard line to keep that game-winning 12-play, 82-yard drive going.
Sure, he threw the go-ahead score to Santonio Holmes with 1:09 left. But Sanchez knows the Jets won't be able to count on those kind of heroics if they are going to somehow shoehorn themselves into the playoffs.
"You look at all our goals and stuff, we went over it in the team room in the team meeting," Sanchez said. "We lost the turnover battle. There’s no excuse for that. We lost the rushing attempts plus completions battle. We lost the field position battle. We lost time of possession battle. It’s like, you can’t expect to do that and expect to win, not in this league, not the teams we are playing coming up.
"It was just a good reminder of the will of our team to win, and how much we want to win and the kind of competitors and winners we have, but another good reminder of how much better we need to play."
That's why lately, he hasn't been outwardly smiling as much as he usually does.
"I know what’s at stake," Sanchez said, "and I know how good we can be, and I just don’t want to miss that opportunity."