The morning after a devastating playoff loss can be somewhat lethargic for the professionals who now must admit that their season has ended. They’re beat. Both physically and mentally, they’re finished. More than anyone else, perhaps, this will hit hardest for Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets, who lost his second AFC Conference Championship game in two years and once again fell short of the Super Bowl after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-19.
During a late second quarter play, Sanchez was winding up for a pass and took a pounding on his shoulder, which caused a fumble that was recovered and run back for a touchdown by the Steelers. His throwing shoulder was already facing questions and this hit only added to the speculation. When he got up from the turf after the throw, he was visibly hurting, but he soon returned to finish the game, throwing 20 of 33 for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns. Had Sanchez managed to hold onto the ball when his shoulder took a shot, the score might have been 19-17, Jets win.
Ah, but these are the hard knocks. Sanchez may now need to have surgery on his throwing shoulder during the offseason, but his arm was already weaker than other quarterbacks in the NFL. A surgical procedure, regardless of the rehabilitation, could impact his future potential of making a third shot to win an AFC title game. What a drag for last year’s star rookie, but the Steelers have always been known as a defensive onslaught and the young man from Southern California was inevitably going to face a beating from the black and gold. Terrible towels aside, Sanchez played as tough as he could and still came up short. As they say, there’s always next year.