Second-year quarterback Greg McElroy replaced Mark Sanchez in the second half and helped lead the New York Jets to an ugly 7-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Cardinals have now lost eight straight games after starting the year 4-0.
McElroy hit Jeff Cumberland for a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, putting the Jets ahead 7-3 at the time. Arizona got another field goal in the final quarter, but could not get any closer than 7-6. Kicker Jay Feely had all six points for Arizona, hitting field goals from 48 and 35 yards.
Sanchez was removed by Jets head coach Rex Ryan after completing less than half of his passes and throwing three interceptions.
Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley was not much better in his second career start, completing 10-of-31 passes for 72 yards and an interception. Arizona's offense picked up just five first downs in the contest.
With the win, the Jets improve to 5-7 on the season, while the Cardinals continue their slide to 4-8.
Winners: Greg McElroy added his name to the season-long conversation about the Jets' starting quarterback position. McElroy completed 5-of-7 passes for 27 yards and the game's only touchdown. While the numbers may not be staggering, McElroy's performance after replacing Sanchez is sure to crank up the debate again.
Losers: Both starting quarterbacks had rough days, with Lindley completing less than a third of his passes and Sanchez completing less than half of his. The two also combined to throw four interceptions.
Mark Sanchez's rough afternoon in GIFs and tweets:
One of three interceptions that Sanchez threw to the Cardinals' defense before being lifted by Rex Ryan:
And as Greg McElroy helped the Jets to their only score, Sanchez takes notes post-benching:
Fox keeps showing sanchez writing intently on the clipboard. Working on his resume, cover letter?— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) December 2, 2012
Is it me or does it appear Sanchez is fake scribbling on his clipboard to avoid eye contact with ... anybody— Paola Boivin (@PaolaBoivin) December 2, 2012
Sanchez benched for McElroy.It's like a terribly written movie!— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers21) December 2, 2012
was looking for combined QB days sadder than Sanchez/Lindley. found a Jimmy Clausen/Todd Collins game from '10. yeah i'm done.— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) December 2, 2012
Best/worst stat of the game: The most depressing stat of the game comes from the first half, when starting quarterbacks Sanchez and Lindley combined for four more interceptions than touchdowns. In addition to four picks and no scores, the two only combined for eight completions in the first half.
Fantasy studs/duds: Owners of either teams' defense will be pleased with their fantasy output after all the turnovers in this game. Jets running back Shonn Greene had a stellar game, leading all rushers with 104 yards. For Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, a frustrating season continued and his fantasy owners will agree: the star receiver had just one catch for 23 yards. Be sure to check out SB Nation's fantasy homepage for everything fantasy football related.
Odds/Gambling: The Jets were six-point favorites at kickoff and did not cover that spread with the narrow victory. For more lines from around the league you can head over to SB Nation's NFL odds page.
Injury info: Both teams have had plenty of injury issues over the year, but escaped this contest without suffering any more serious blows.
Next team on the schedule: The Jets and Cardinals are both on the road next week. New York will face the Jacksonville Jaguars next week at 1 p.m. ET, while Arizona will visit divisional rival Seattle Seahawks at 4:25 p.m. ET.