Vying to become the Jets starter, Sanchez got off to a wretched start Monday night and finished with a flourish in a 24-23 preseason loss.
Starting for the first time, Sanchez handed off the ball on the game’s opening play from scrimmage. Then he forced a pass while being hit in the stomach by middle linebacker Ray Lewis. The ball was intercepted by Haloti Ngata, who rumbled 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 with 52 seconds elapsed.
“Not obviously the way you want to start. I thought I was doing the right thing; I felt Ray come free on the right side from the protection,” Sanchez said. “I was checking it down to the flat, perfect. Haloti just jumped right in front of the ball and made a really athletic play.”
Sanchez nearly had his second pass picked off, too. On his final play, however, the first-round draft pick threw his first NFL touchdown pass—a 19-yarder to running back Leon Washington(notes) with 5:50 left in the second quarter.
Drafted fifth overall out of Southern California, Sanchez went 3 for 8 for 43 yards. He didn’t experience success until the Ravens removed several players from the first-team defense, including Lewis and safety Ed Reed.
Kellen Clemens, who started New York’s other exhibition game, was 5 for 10 for 60 yards. Like Sanchez, he had an interception returned for a touchdown and threw a TD pass (a 28-yarder to David Clowney(notes) in the third quarter).