Sanchez can't come through vs. Pats 'D'


Sanchez can't come through vs. Pats 'D'

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO The career of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been filled with ups and downs, to say the least. And no opponent seems to best illustrate how wonderful or wickedly bad Sanchez can be than the New England Patriots.

On Sunday, Sanchez was solid for most of the night, but against the Patriots, that wasn't enough as New England took control in the first half and never looked back in defeating the Jets, 30-21.

With the loss, the Jets (2-3) are now a full two games behind Buffalo (4-1) and New England (4-1) for the best record in the AFC East.

"I never thought we'd have a three-game losing streak like this," Sanchez said.

The play of Sanchez certainly didn't lose the game for the Jets on Sunday, but it didn't exactly help, either. The numbers he registered for the game are pretty respectable: 16-for-26 passing with 166 yards and two touchdowns.

But just as significant are the yards that Sanchez's receivers didn't get, courtesy of some less-than-stellar throws. On several occasions, Sanchez threw behind a receiver, which forced them to slow down, catch the ball and then try to run down field. By the time they collected the catch, New England defenders were in position to prevent them from getting too many yards after the catch.

While New England's defense didn't exactly shut Sanchez down, they seemed to apply enough pressure at just the right time to throw his rhythm off.

"As a defense, you always hope that you can get a quarterback just never to get comfortable in the game," said Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty. "That's when, when quarterbacks get in their comfort zone, they start picking you apart."

Sanchez never got to that point on Sunday, which is surprising when you consider how just about every quarterback to face the Patriots this season has put up big numbers. Remember, this is the same Patriots defense that came into Sunday's game with the league's worst pass defense. New York's insistence on having a balanced attack certainly played a major role in Sanchez not having a huge passing game.

In the past, Sanchez's play was often the barometer in gauging who would win between the Jets and Patriots.

Prior to Sunday's loss, Sanchez was 3-2 against the Patriots. In the three wins, he was 51-for-77 passing (66.3 percent) for 577 yards and seven touchdowns. In the two losses, he completed less than 50 percent of his passes with one touchdown and seven interceptions.

So for him to have such a solid performance on Sunday and still lose was a bit of a surprise.

"We lost the game," Sanchez said. "So it's hard for me to get into stats or anything like that."

Sanchez is more concerned - as are all of the Jets players - with finding a way to reverse their losing ways of late. It'll take a number of players to step up their play, Sanchez included.

New York wide receiver Plaxico Burress is in his first season with Sanchez and the Jets. So far, he likes what he has seen from the third-year quarterback.

"He's good; working hard to get better," said Burress, who had three catches for 42 yards on Sunday. "We're trying to put him in situations to have some success, to go out and play well. He did that. We just all have to come together and work hard to help him get better. Because as he goes, we go."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Rex Ryan ready to be done seeing Tom Brady: 'Maybe that dude will retire...'


Rex Ryan ready to be done seeing Tom Brady: 'Maybe that dude will retire...'

FOXBORO -- Rex Ryan says he was just kidding. He didn't really mean it when he said he had a "mole" at Gillette Stadium telling him which Patriots quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett, would play in Week 4. 

This week he doesn't need a network of spies to tell him who to prepare for. 

"My sources tell me Brady will be the quarterback," Ryan joked on a conference call Wednesday. 

Brady and Ryan have met 15 times dating back to the start of Ryan's head coaching career in 2009 with the Jets. Their matchups date back even further when factoring in Ryan's years as a defensive assistant and then defensive coordinator in Baltimore. 

But after three games this season, three games in which Brady has completed 75 percent of his passes for 1,004 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions, Ryan said it's hard to imagine a time when the Future Hall of Famer has looked more at ease. 

"Well, I mean, it’s almost like, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him better . . . I mean he he’s played in the league for 17 years, 18 years, something like that," Ryan said. "You know, obviously, he puts the work in and everything else and it’s just a real credit to him. 

"Like I keep thinking if I stay in this conference long enough, that maybe that dude will retire but I don’t see that happening anytime soon."

The respect is mutual. While Brady has the edge in the win-loss column, he clearly appreciates what Ryan's teams are able to do on the defensive side of the ball. 

They can be an annoyance in the way they deviate from what they've shown on film. 

"I think there’s an element of what you prepare for, you may not get many of those things," Brady said Wednesday. "We’ve played him sometimes when he’s been blitzing a lot, and he doesn’t blitz as much at all. Then he hasn’t been blitzing much at all and then he blitzes us at all. 

"I think you just have to be prepared for everything, which is a bit of a challenge because there’s only so much time in the week that you have to prepare. You’ve got to try to nail down what you think you’re going to get, then practice it and be able to adjust if need be when you get out there."

The philosophy behind Ryan's plan for Brady and the Patriots is a simple one, even if it results in complex pressures and coverage schemes. 

"He’s too good," Ryan said. "If he could just sit back and without challenging him, you know, it’s tough enough when you present something he hadn’t seen, but it’s damn near impossible when he hasn’t seen it."

Benefitting Brady in those types of what-the-hell-are-we-looking-at scenarios is that over the course of his 16 years as a starter, he's seen just about everything. And offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been by his side for just about all of it. Together they are often able to delve into their memory banks and pull out a game plan from their shared past, scrap the week of practice and preparation they'd just gone through, and roll with something different. 

If you're Ryan, you hope you can keep Brady guessing for 60 minutes. At the very least, you hope you can buy your team some time before he figures things out -- because odds are he will. 

"Same guy like he always is," Ryan said. 

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster. 

Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh. 

The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."


Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request. 

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment. 

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."