BY NICK ST. DENIS
Mark Sanchez was far from spectacular in the New York Jets' demoralizing 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
OK, far is an understatement. While the fourth-year quarterback threw for 283 yards and a meaningless touchdown, he threw a red-zone interception and lost a crucial fumble. He didn't get any help from anyone else, either.
Sanchez, according to his teammates, has taken the brunt of lots of unnecessary and undeserved criticism through Gang Green's 3-5 start to the season. Despite awful special teams work, mediocre defense, sieve-like offensive line play and a lack of playmakers, Sanchez is the one who gets booed, ridiculed by the media and called on by much of the human population to be replaced by Tim Tebow.
“I think he does receive a lot of bullets that’s not necessarily for him,” receiver Jeremy Kerley told The Star-Ledger Sunday. “I had drops, we could talk about that. There’s a lot of things that we could talk about and Mark gets the heat for it. It falls under other categories.”
Sanchez was showered with "Tebow, Tebow" chants throughout much of the second half Sunday.
“Obviously I’m a big Tebow fan, but I’m not a big fan of screaming to get the backup quarterback in,” tight end Dustin Keller told The Star-Ledger. “. . . If you’re a fan and you really want to cheer for this team, you’re going to be cheering for the starting quarterback to play the best, and I felt like at times people weren’t standing behind Mark.”
The calls for Tebow will be plentiful with the Jets on a bye in Week 9. However, Jets coach Rex Ryan stood by Sanchez Sunday night.
"I think Mark has proven that he can win in this league," Ryan said, according to the team's website. "I think he gives us our best chance to win. That’s my opinion and that’s the one that matters."