Had an opportunity to do a pre-game interview with another blogger before the Jets-Patriots game. Was asked about Mark Sanchez only attempting 18 passes against the Indianapolis Colts the week earlier and if he would have to throw more for the Jets to win against the Patriots? My answer, off the top of my head, was that if Sanchez threw more than 35 passes the Jets would likely lose.
The CBS broadcaster mentioned Sanchez had attempted 38 passes at a specific point late in the game. Remembering the 35 attempts statement began to think if the Jets were going to lose, like had been predicated, because at that point they had a good chance of winning. After the game ended, another devastating loss, wondered why I thought the Jets would lose if Sanchez threw the ball more than 35 times?
Decided to test my hunch by looking up Sanchez win/lose ratio when he throws the ball 30 or more times in a game. Found that when Sanchez throws the ball 30 or more times the Jets are 15-17, 7-10 if more than 34 attempts.
Of course any team would like to run the ball limiting the amount of throws even with an elite quarterback as a balanced attack leads to victory but most offenses run about 60-70 plays per game. So basically if Sanchez is asked to throw the ball over 50% of offensive plays the Jets are more likely to lose than win.
Even during the Patriots game, Sanchez was 28 of 41, 68% completion, so he had good numbers but the Jets still lost. He was sacked 4 times, had once interception on a late throw to Stephen Hill which should have been a touchdown and fumbled on the final drive when he needed a score to continue or win the game.
Sacks aren’t always the quarterbacks fault but the more the game is put in Sanchez’s hands the more likely he is to hold the ball to long and/or make a mistake which will cost the team. Even this year’s Miami Dolphins game which the Jets won, thanks to kicker Dan Carpenter, Sanchez 21 of 45, 46.7% completion, 2 interceptions and 6 sacks.
Just as a comparison Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who was a rookie in 2008, is 18-3 when throwing 30-39 passes (2009-current) and 24-14 throwing 30 or more passes in the same time frame. Mark Sanchez is 11-13 if asked to throw 30-39 passes during his career.
Bottom line is you can’t count on Sanchez to carry the team to a win even if he only has to marginally carry the team. Last season the Jets ran 1070 offensive plays and 587 were passes (55%) just looking at this ratio it is not surprising that the Jets were 8-8 but during a 16 game schedule you have to be able to count on your quarterback to win more than 47% of the games when asked to pass about half the offensive plays if you want to be a contender.
All statistics are courtesy of NFL.com.