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Updated Monday, November 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM

Jets left defending their efforts, and their decisions

By Larry Stone
Seattle Times staff reporter

Not that the New York Jets have a quarterback controversy or anything, but coach Rex Ryan was asked after the game Sunday to explain his "fatal attraction" to Mark Sanchez.

No, Glenn Close wasn't in the New York press corps.

That pointed query came after Ryan, in the wake of another ineffectual performance by Sanchez in New York's 28-7 defeat against Seattle, reaffirmed that Sanchez would remain the starter ahead of Tim Tebow.

Despite Sanchez's inability to lead a touchdown drive, compounded by a critical interception in the red zone, Ryan said he still feels the Jets have their best chance to win with Sanchez. When pressed about that belief, he became a bit heated.

"I don't care what you think or anybody else — I believe it," Ryan said. "In my heart, I believe it. I've had, I don't know, how many years coaching football, and I put my trust in him."

The Sanchez/Tebow dynamic is just one cloud — albeit, the most closely observed one — in the world of the Jets, who fell to 3-6. After three consecutive defeats, their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, as Ryan is well aware.

"It's about a 2 percent chance of making the playoffs, or something like that, with a record that we have," he said. "But we're going to take that shot. (There) is not one quit in any of these guys."

But there also hasn't been one win for the Jets since Oct. 14. And Sanchez's struggles are becoming harder for Ryan to defend. On his way to racking up a quarterback rating of 40.7, Sanchez had two critical turnovers — the interception on third-and-goal from Seattle's 6 (his fourth red-zone turnover of the season), and a fumble in the fourth quarter that led directly to Seattle's final score.

Asked about the team's mood after the interception, guard Brandon Moore replied, "It wasn't a jovial moment."

Moore was equally biting when asked how well the Jets' offense responded to that adversity.

"Well, we didn't score any touchdowns today."

The closest they came was when Tebow, in one of his periodic cameos at quarterback, was poised to score from the 1. That would have put the Jets up 14-7.

"Tebow was going to walk in on that counter play," Ryan said.

Instead, the Jets were called for a false start, and a visibly agitated Tebow exited the field.

"I don't think they were in a good look to stop us on that play," he said. "The frustration was that I knew we let an easy one slip away."

The next play was Richard Sherman's interception of Sanchez's pass — "the start of the turn of things going bad," Sanchez noted.

He added, "We can't win with the way I played today."

Sanchez completed just nine of 22 passes for 124 yards. Tebow, in a somewhat expanded role — seven snaps, plus three plays that resulted in penalties — completed all three of his passes, but for 8 yards. He rushed four times for 14 yards. The sum was not enough to persuade Ryan to make Tebow the lead man.

"I've just got to continue to work hard in my role, and that's it," Tebow said.

Sanchez said he's not thinking about losing his job.

"That never really crosses my mind," he said. "I am too confident for that. We have won too many games together. We've had some great success here, so I don't expect anything different. It's my job to keep playing, play hard, and make better decisions and help this team win."

Sanchez was asked if it's hard to maintain his rhythm in the Jets' quarterback rotation. The reporter noted that in one case, Sanchez threw a 32-yard pass — and before he could complete the question, Sanchez finished the thought: "And came right back out, yeah. It's something we're all getting used to, and I'm getting a better feel for it. We'll keep rolling. When I'm in there, I have to play better and take care of the football."

The upshot was a Jets defeat that Ryan called "brutal." And this being a New York team, the aftermath figures to be the same.

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com.


JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES
On a blitz, Seattle's Richard Sherman knocks the ball loose from Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter.




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