Sanchez starts slow, but builds on success

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Sanchez starts slow, but builds on success

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After an abysmal performance in a loss to the Ravens in Week 1 (10-for-21, 74 yards, 0 TD), conventional wisdom was that Mark Sanchez needed to get something going early against the Patriots this Sunday.

He didn't, and he didn't record a first down until midway through the second quarter.

The Jets quarterback had just one drive in the first quarter and he opened it with a near-interception. He sandwiched a five-yard hand-off to Shonn Greene between another incompletion for a more underwhelming start than even imagined. Total time of possession? 62 seconds. It wasn't all Sanchez' fault; the Jets defense couldn't get off the field.But in his limited time on thefield,Sanchez looked as inept as he had against Baltimore.

But, slowly and surely, he shook it off.

The difference in Mark Sanchez between the first and second quarters was obvious. Example? At one point, the Patriots had nine first downs to New York's zero. At the half it was 12-10, Pats.And Sanchez enteredhalftime with respectable numbers: 12-for-16 for 121 yards and a touchdown, brought in by Braylon Edwards.

Some of the passes were still subpar.A second-and-8 ball he threw at LaDainian Tomlinson's feet when the running back was wide open in the flat inside the Patriots 10. Both of the sacks -- the first inflicted by Gerard Warren, the second by Tully Banta-Cain -- were probably avoidable.

But Sanchezmovedthe chains. His confidence grew. On a different second-and-eight in the same drive, the Patriots defensive line flushed Sanchez out of the pocket and he was forced to scramble. Instead of looking skittish as he so often did against Baltimore, he kept his head and created,shoveling a throw toTomlinson for nine yards and a first down.

Tomlinson and Shonn Greene were there for Sanchez on what running game the Jets attempted. But it was Edwards and Dustin Keller who helped Sanchez get the offense in gear and develop the passing game. The receivers shared 7 of their quarterback's 16 completions for 42 and 47-yards, respectively.

What they did was give Sanchez reliable options. The plays weren't big and they weren't sexy, but they added up to 10 points to keep the Jets in the game. And they gave something, finally, for Mark Sanchez to build on.

And build he did. The quarterback completed 21-30 passes for 220 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions in New York's 28-14 win over the Patriots.

"This is just the beginning,'' Sanchez said. "It's still a long season. It's just tough when you lose that first game and it feels like you're 0-10. It's nice that it was a short week.''

A victory and some confidence were not his only gains. It sounded like Sanchez also gained some perspective.

"It was great, coming out this week and being myself and having fun. I told guys after the first drive of the game, 'Smile, have a little fun. Get animated out here,'" he said. "We're playing a kids game. We're grown men but we're playing a kids game and to treat it like that. Be smart, but have fun."

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

Edelman says 'there was no maliciousness' to his Steelers comments

It's funny how during a week like this one, a singularly ridiculous act -- such as Antonio Brown's live stream of the Steelers postgame locker room celebration last weekend -- can lead to a series of brush fires that pop up only to be peed on and put out. 

That was the case yesterday as a comment Julian Edelman made to WEEI earlier this week about Brown's Facebook Live video was spun as a sort of vicious burn directed at the Steelers franchise. 

"That's how that team is run," Edelman said, a comment that read as a more serious indictment than it actually sounded. "I personally don't think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey, whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses. Whatever."

That led to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being asked about Edelman's comments, and defending the honor of the Rooney family, during a press conference on Wednesday.

"I don’t think I need to speak much," Roethlisberger said. "We’ve got our trophies out there. I’ve got owners that I think are the best in the business. They’re family to us, and I’m sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them a family."

And on and on it went. Later in the day, Edelman was asked about his comments during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters.

So just in case you're keeping score, a Steelers player streamed a video of coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots "a-holes," which prompted a response from Edelman. That response prompted a response from Roethlisberger, whose response to the response then led to a response to the response to the response from Edelman.

Got it?

"Yeah, I mean I think it was taken out of context," Edelman said. "I have nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re an unbelievable franchise. It starts from the top with the Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, I think they just mis[interpreted] – I mean, I don’t know, I may have said it, but I think more of that was that it’s not the way we would do it here. That’s just how that goes. There was no maliciousness about it, but it’s whatever. That’s what the media does, try to make stories."

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview