Here are the 10 Best Games of the Mark Sanchez Era with the Jets, Which Appears Over

By Jason McIntyre

Mark Sanchez has a labral tear in his right shoulder and is “likely” to have surgery that would end his 2013 season, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported late Wednesday night.

What a shocking turn of events for Sanchez, the winningest postseason QB in franchise history (four playoff wins, all on the road). He went from starter in 2013 (the job was his to lose), to injured in the 4th quarter of a meaningless preseason game, to done with the franchise. Everyone’s going to pick the low-hanging fruit – buttfumble, eating a hot dog on the sideline, etc – but I’ll highlight his 10 best games with the Jets:

10. Jets 48, Buffalo 14. September 2012. Regular season.
His best performance in a really bad season: 19-of-27, 266 yards, 9.9 ypa, 3 TDs.

9. Jets 26, Browns 20. November 2010. Regular season.
An ugly game that went deep into overtime, but ended with a positive result, thanks to Sanchez heroics in the final minute. Not a statistical masterpiece (27-of-44, 299 yards, two TDs, one INT), and he got injured in the 3rd quarter, but this was the game-winner in overtime.

8. Steelers 24, Jets 19. January 2011. Playoffs.
Yup, the Jets lost, and Sanchez had a turnover – drilled, fumbled, returned for a TD – but he was very good in the 2nd half, nearly rallying the Jets to victory. He finished 20-of-33 for 233 yards, 7.1 YPA, and two TDs.

7. Jets 23, Detroit 20. November 2010. Regular season.
Big-time finish for Sanchez, who at times struggled in this game (three fumbles, none lost; interception), but ended up with 336 yards through the air (22-of-39). His biggest pass was this dart to Holmes in overtime, which set up the game-winning field goal.

6. Jets 24, Cincinnati 14, January 2010. Playoffs.
New York went into the game as underdogs, having backed into the playoffs because the Colts rested their starters in week 15, and then the Bengals did in week 16, too. Sanchez, in a game typical of most of his best games, was cautious with the ball, and efficient: 12-of-15, 182 yards (12.1 YPA) and a TD.

5. Jets 17, Indianapolis 16, January 2011. Playoffs.
Statistically (18-for-31, 1 INT) not a very good game, but in beating Peyton Manning on the road, Sanchez was clutch in the final minute – 3-for-3, 38 yards.

4. Jets 24, Houston 7. September 2009. Regular season.
Sanchez got everyone giddy in his first career start. Nobody had expectations for the team, but Sanchez went 18-for-31 for 272 yards and a touchdown. His 8.8 YPA even led folks to think he wouldn’t be all dink-and-dunk!

3. Jets 30, Houston 27. November 2010. Regular season.
Tremendous game the Jets dominated … until they went into a shell and let the Texans snag a late lead. Then, Sanchez rallied the team on a drive in the final minute. He finished 22-of-38 for 315 yards, an 8.3 ypa, and three TDs. This remains the best pass of the Sanchez era.

2. Jets 28, New England 14. September 2010. Regular season.
Stunning win for the Jets, who a week earlier looked completely inept against Baltimore. Sanchez: 21-of-30, 7.3 YPA, 3 TDs, zero turnovers.

1. Jets 28, New England 21, January 2011. Playoffs.
Definitely his best game in the postseason: 16-of-25, 3 TDs, 7.7 YPA. The Jets were double-digit underdogs. Easily the best win of the Sanchez/Rex era.

[Top photo via GQ]