It all started on Mark Sanchez's first play of the game.
"From the get-go, from the first play, it just wasn't my day," Sanchez said.
The play Sanchez was referring to was a pass thrown directly to former Jets safety Kerry Rhodes, who caught the first of his two interceptions on the day. Sanchez followed up last week's laughable performance against the Patriots by throwing three interceptions on the Jets' first five possessions.
For the first time ever, Rex Ryan decided to mercifully bench Sanchez with 4:48 left in the third quarter and replace him with the virtually unknown third-stringer Greg McElroy.
With Tim Tebow out with an injury, McElroy became the man of the hour. Jets fans chanted for him as he made his first NFL appearance in what was the dullest game of the year, but right from the jump, McElroy moved the offense down the field and gave the fans something they haven't felt all year – hope.
McElroy threw the only TD of the game which was also his first NFL score, a one yard pass to TE Jeff Cumberland in the red zone that ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in the Jets 7-6 victory over the Cardinals.
So now what? What should Ryan do?
I can tell you what he should not do, and that's start Sanchez next week.
Sanchez has become a liability more than a threat against opposing defenses this year as his star continues to fade into obscurity. His in-game demeanor has flattened as his mental state is on display for full public consumption. Just look at his robotic post game press conference quotes:
"I'm really happy for the team, and really happy for Greg," Sanchez said. That's all he could really say after McElroy ignited a team and a fan base that has been desperately waiting for someone to make a difference.
But, hey Mark, look on the bright side; at least it wasn't Tebow out there taking your job away as the fans raged on.
“I’ll let you guys know who’s going to be the quarterback when I’m ready,” said Ryan with a smirk on his face, like he knew something we didn't. What I do know is this — if Ryan did stick with Sanchez today and all the way through the final month of the season, he might be the one who ends up watching his job fade away.
The New York Jets move to 5-7 on the season.
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