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Is It Time for Jets Fans to Panic About Sanchez?

Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets walks to the sideline after being sacked by nose tackle Haloti Ngata #92 of the Baltimore Ravens.

The last time the New York Jets were 2-2, Eric Mangini was the coach, Brett Favre was the quarterback and Jenn Sterger was still a Jets employee. It was before Rex Ryan came here and, thus, feels like a lifetime ago. Mangini would be fired after that season, Favre would be gone, and Ryan would be brought in to fix the whole mess. And that 2-2 team felt a lot less worrisome than this one does.

The Jets lost 34-17 to the Ravens last night, but the game was much worse than the score, and the score's pretty bad. The Jets' defense, if you can believe it from that score, actually wasn't terrible, even a considerable improvement over the Raiders' game last week. But that offense: Hoo boy. It might be time to start getting worried about Mark Sanchez again.

The advanced football statistics folks of Football Outsiders (and former F.O. guy Bill Barnwell over at Grantland) have long been Sanchez skeptics — the issue has always been accuracy — but even Sanchez's worst enemies wouldn't have wished a game on him like the one he had last night. Sanchez was 11-of-35 for 119 yards and turned the ball over four times. The turnovers were particularly bad ones, leading directly to Ravens touchdowns; at times you had to wonder whether or not, considering how poorly Ravens QB Joe Flacco was playing, if the Jets would be better off if Sanchez just took a knee three times and let the Jets punt the ball back to Baltimore so they could pull off their own turnovers. Though Sanchez might have even fumbled the kneel-down.

The Jets were missing Nick Mangold, and the offensive line felt his absence (and has enough problems with him) ... but Sanchez would have been lousy, even if the Ravens defenders had to count to 30-Mississippi. Ryan couldn't deny it:

"Well, I mean, he struggled mightily," Ryan said. "There's no question about it. He had a 30.5 rating. It wasn't his best day, that's for sure, but he's our quarterback and I believe in him. We've had some ups and downs before. We've had one worse than this one, believe it or not. We're just the men for the job. We'll get this thing fixed."

The Jets couldn't possibly be in a worse spot heading into their annual blood-war in Foxboro. Sanchez is collapsing, the O-line is falling apart, and fans are starting to lose it: This was precisely why the Raiders loss last week was so damaging heading into this tough schedule stretch. The only good thing that happened to the Jets yesterday was that the Bills lost. That's where we're at right now.

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images