You couldn't swing a dead cat this summer without hitting someone telling you that it was imperative that Mark Sanchez showed marked improvement as a quarterback this season. Because of that we thought we'd check in weekly to see how the Sanchize is progressing toward that goal.
On last week's episode of Modern Family, a character shot down one of her husband's nutty schemes by saying "I love you, but..." before being cut off by her husband's sharp retort of "I love your 'I love you', but I'm getting awfully tired of your 'but'."
That episode had absolutely nothing to do with Mark Sanchez, but that line has everything to do with the way the Jets' quarterback played on Sunday.
The 28-24 victory left you quite thrilled with certain things that Sanchez did, but they weren't enough to make you wonder if there's ever going to be a moment when there's no "but" to make the whole thing feel less impressive.
Sanchez threw four touchdowns on Sunday in a game that the Jets absolutely had to have if they are going to salvage anything out of this season, including the game-winner to Santonio Holmes with 61 seconds left on the clock.
The Jets don't win the game without Sanchez making those throws and keeping his head with time running short, yet you can't escape the knowledge that the Jets aren't in that position in the first place if their quarterback played a little bit better in the first 55 minutes.
He threw another awful interception to set up one Bills touchdown, should have been picked a couple of other times and misfired more often than not in the first half of the game. If not for Stevie Johnson's penalty for his over-the-top touchdown celebration, the Jets would have likely trailed at halftime and who knows what the second half would have looked like then.
Even two of his best completions of the day -- to Dustin Keller to set up Keller's second score and the spectacular Plaxico Burress grab on the sideline to keep the final drive alive -- came on terrible throws that were saved by great receiving plays.
Sanchez finished the day with a completion percentage under 50 percent (10-of-26 before that final drive), a stat that says much more about how he played than the four touchdown passes.
And yet he threw the four touchdowns and brought the team back to a win. The story of Sanchez's career so far is that he's mediocre or worse for long, long stretches before finding a way to get the job done in the Jets' biggest moments.
The story of his career in the long term is going to be whether or not he can ever put the mediocrity behind him and improve enough to become a quarterback who consistently puts his team into those big moments. Sunday raised even more doubts about that even as it provided more evidence that he's a quarterback who can win games when his back is against the wall.
We love the moments where Sanchez makes you say "I love you," but we're getting awfully tired of having to add in a "but" before finishing the sentence.