It was a tale of two teams for the Jets, who went from struggling to success in the day. Things got off to a rough start for New York as Quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offense gave up three interceptions on eight throws.
Things changed for the positive when at the 4:48 mark when Greg McElroy came into the game and on his first drive led the Jets into the end zone. McElroy, who was the team’s seventh-round selection in the 2011 draft, completed five-of-seven passes for 29 yards.
New York’s defense stepped up big time not allowing a third down conversion on 15 Arizona attempts, as the team held on to a crucial victory.
Running Back Shonn Greene carried 24 times for 104 yards. Including the postseason, this was Greene’s eighth career 100-yard performance, second of the season, and fourth since he became a starter in 2011. Including the postseason, the team owns an 8-0 record when Greene rushes for at least 100 yards.
With his second interception of the season, safety LaRon Landry matched his career-high, set in 2008 with WAS. This season, Landry has two interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Head Coach Rex Ryan:
“The game wasn’t much of a surprise as far as the kind of dogfight we’d be in. That’s a good football team that has an outstanding defense. We knew it was going to be tough sledding. I was really proud of everyone’s effort, especially our defense. I think we gave up 15 yards in the second half and 137 total yards, 40 on the fake punt. I’m really proud of their effort. I thought all of the coaches did a good job, in particular the defensive coaches. They did a tremendous job. On offense, we had 177 yards rushing against that bunch, which is no easy task. You’d like to put more points on the board than the seven we did, but it was good enough today. You’re going to have days like that. I feel fortunate to be on the winning side.”
On whether he felt the excitement from the crowd when he decided to insert Greg McElroy:
“At that time, I felt I needed to make a change. That’s why I made it. I’ll always do what I think is in the best interest of our football team and try to find ways to win. At that time, I thought it was time to make a change.”
On what made him feel a QB change was necessary:
“It’s just something I sensed and felt. When you’re around this game long enough, you get that feeling that, ‘I’ve seen enough and it’s time to make that change.’ Again, I have confidence in Mark (Sanchez). I have confidence in Greg. I have confidence in Tim (Tebow). The way the game was being played at that stage of the game, I thought our defense was doing a tremendous job. It was like a hot goalie standing on his head. That’s basically what it felt like. I just felt like it was time to make that move.”
On what he liked from McElroy:
“I really like the way he controlled the clock. It’s no surprise. He comes from a great program (Alabama). I’m not saying that (because) my kid might go to Alabama (joking), but he was smart. He knows how to handle that clock, and that’s what he did. He does a tremendous job of it. He’s smart. Like I said before, I never knew that a guy could improve his arm strength during an off-season the way Greg did. Right now, I feel comfortable with Greg. I like some of the things he does. The first thing you say about him is that he’s smart and tough. He did a good job today, as did all of his teammates.”
“Mark clearly has had better days than he had today. This opponent has made a lot of good quarterbacks struggle. He was 10-of-21, but their quarterback (Ryan Lindley) was 10-of-31. Sometimes when you play good defenses, you can have games like that.”
On Sanchez’s ability to bounce back:
“I know the kind of young man he is. He’ll bounce back and be ready to roll. It’s tough sledding. Sometimes you’re going to have games like that. Again, that was the right move at this time and that’s what I believe.”
Quarterback Mark Sanchez:
On his play today:
“From the get-go, obviously the first play, it just wasn’t my day. Didn’t throw it well, didn’t see the first play very well. I tried to dump it down to Dustin (Keller) late and missed him. I missed Jeff (Cumberland) on another interception and (Cardinals CB Patrick) Peterson made a good play on another one. Obviously not my day. It’s unfortunate, but I’m really happy for the team and I’m happy for Greg (McElroy). He came in and played his butt off. He got us a big win. He was real smart, took care of the football and played his butt off, so I’m proud of our team.”
On how he plans to continue trying to be the quarterback he wants to be:
“I will just keep working, go study this film and keep trying to improve. (I need to) understand where the mistakes came from, keep studying, keep preparing, be ready to play next week and see what happens.”
Quarterback Greg McElroy:
On how much notice he received before going into the game:
“It was kind of one of those things (where) we had just come off and had sputtered the drive before. He told me to just go warm up.”
On if there was any indication at halftime that he would play:
“There was no indication at all. Going into the entire week, I just prepared as always. I played against the defense on the scout team. I was Ryan Lindley during the week. That was my role. That’s what I was expecting to be. Coach Ryan decided to do something differently.”
On if he felt the energy in the stadium:
“It’s tough to gauge the energy. I didn’t have a decibel meter where I could tell what the crowd noise was (laughter). It was fun. We were having a good time. It was exciting to get a shot and go in there. Fortunately, my teammates did a fantastic job executing. We were able to stick to the run game. We really did a good job of getting some holes for (Bilal) Powell and Shonn (Greene). That made my job a lot easier.”
On his touchdown pass:
“To tell you the truth, it was a bit of a floater. It was a run reverse option and I almost didn’t want to throw it, but I had to just let it go. Jeff (Cumberland) did a great job of selling the run and Brandon Moore did a fantastic job getting in up front and trying to skirt the edge. It was just great execution. It was a great call by Coach Sparano. I was pretty fortunate and luckily we were able to get in.”
On the experience going from third string to winning a NFL game:
“I learned when I was in JV football as a sophomore. I threw three picks in my first five attempts. I learned it’s never too high with the highs, never too low with the lows. Just stay even keel. Obviously, that’s what I’m going to try to do. That’s the way I’m going to approach it. I’m going to enjoy this for 24 hours, I’m going to learn from it, I’m going to watch the film. I’m going to get in there, all of us as a group, all 53 guys, we’re going to get ready for Jacksonville. We’re going to enjoy this one for sure and we’re going to try to learn from it and get better.”