<
>

Sanchez can't catch a break from refs

Sunday notes: Thoughts and observations on the Jets and around the NFL:

1. Game officials seem to have it out for QB Mark Sanchez. He has been victimized by at least two illegal hits that resulted in fines -- the Broncos' Von Miller ($25,000) and the Ravens' Haloti Ngata ($15,000) -- but no flag was thrown in either case and there have been no roughing-the-passer penalties all season. Sanchez has drawn two personal-foul penalties (both by Jaguar defenders), but he was out of the pocket in both instances. If Tom Brady took a helmet to the chest, the way Sanchez did from Miller last week, you can bet there would've been a flag.

2. Here's one thing you have to admire about Sanchez: He never passes the buck. He always takes the blame even when it's not all his fault. Two examples from the last game: A sloppy route by Plaxico Burress contributed to his game-changing interception, but he never called out Burress. He also took the heat for Nick Mangold's wild shot-gun snap, but it was actually meant as a direct snap to RB Joe McKnight. This may not sound like a big deal, but I've covered QBs that often blamed teammates for mistakes, publicly and privately.

3. I think some people are over-analyzing Brian Schottenheimer's contract extension. The Jets, like most teams, don't want lame-duck coaches and coordinators, so they extended him and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine last offseason. It's just good business. It doesn't mean Schottenheimer is coming back in 2012 and it doesn't mean he's a goner. That's probably still to be determined.

4. The offensive line is taking a lot of heat for the running-game struggles, but let's not forget about the runner -- Shonn Greene. He's supposed to be a punishing, tackle-breaking back, but he's averaging only 1.8 yards after contact, tied for 33rd in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. For a comparison, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray and Ben Tate are tied for the league league at 2.7.

5. It doesn't look like the Patriots are going to come back to the pack. They have the easiest remaining schedule in the league, with a .333 winning percentage for their opponents, according to ESPN Stats.

6. The last-minute loss to Tim Tebow probably still is a sensitive subject for Jets fans, but here goes: Tebow already has four wins in which he completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempt. The starting QB with the most under-50 percent wins in a single season over the last 25 years is none other than Phil Simms, per ESPN Stats. He did it with the Giants in 1986 -- and won a Super Bowl.

7. The Jets' next opponent, the Redskins, have dropped six straight after a 3-1 start. It's their longest losing streak since they dropped seven in a row in 1998.

8. The Dolphins (3-8) lost a heartbreaker on Thanksgiving, but they've got their act together after a brutal start. If you're a contender, you don't want to play the Dolphins. The Jets close the season in Miami.

9. Candid stuff from Jets LG Matt Slauson, who had this to say to Newsday about former college teammate and Lions DT Ndamukong Suh: "All I'm going to say is somebody needs to get him under control. I mean, somebody needs to make him realize the stuff he's doing is unacceptable. It's unsafe."