EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets passes against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Everyone likely remembers him stinking up the joint in a 16-13 Bills win in 2009. In a game where the Jets ran the ball for 318 yards, Sanchez was absolutely miserable, completing 10-of-29 passes for 119 yards with no scores, five interceptions and a quarterback rating of - no, this isn't a typo - 8.3. He was the sole reason the Jets lost that game.
Yet in two games since, we've seen a much more efficient Sanchez as the Jets have put together a rather dominant winning streak against the Bills. In those two games, Sanchez completed 21-of-39 passes for 265 yards with three scores, no turnovers and a quarterback rating of 100.9. Those statistics are hardly gaudy, but they were enough to get the job done.
Sanchez, in his third year out of USC, is completing just 55.8 percent of his passes this year, but has also seen a significant improvement in his point production, having already thrown 12 touchdown passes (five shy of his personal high, set a year ago). What do Jets fans make of the work-in-progress Sanchez three years in?
"Most Jets fans are happy with the job he is doing," says John Butchko of GangGreenNation.com. "There is a small but vocal minority that is unhappy."
Butchko goes on to describe Sanchez much in the way Bills fans described Ryan Fitzpatrick up until recent months: a risk-taker.
"Sanchez at this point of his career is a risk taker," said Butchko. "This results in some big plays and some ugly ones. As he gets more experience, more and more of the plays are big and less and less are ugly. Most good quarterbacks take a long time to develop. For example, it has taken years for Fitzpatrick to become the player he is today."
Butchko also sees a quarterback that is much more consistent in recent seasons, despite a lack of huge statistical improvement.
"I also think there is a distinction between a guy who is consistently mediocre and one who has one bad game skewing his stats," explained Butchko. "The Baltimore game was a disaster. Outside of that, he would have completed sixty percent (of his throws) in every other game if not for drops."
Sanchez is 2-1 all-time against the Bills. He'll get another crack at them tomorrow afternoon. Which version of Sanchez we get - the good side, or the prone-to-bad-games side - remains to be seen.