It’s official: Mark Sanchez is a rookie.

Mark Sanchez learned a valuable lesson on Sunday: In the NFL, things can always go from bad to worse.

Three weeks ago, Sanchez threw thee interceptions and fumbled once in a 24-10 loss to the Saints. One of those interceptions was returned 99 yards for a touchdown by Darren Sharper and the fumble produced a TD for New Orleans as well. It was the first time that the Jets’ quarterback looked like the rookie he is.

Yesterday, Sanchez completed just 10 of 29 passes for 119 yards and finished with a career-high five interceptions in a 16-13 overtime loss to the Bills. He missed open receivers, he often threw into double coverage and at times, looked absolutely hopeless.

But guess what? That’s going to happen with a rookie quarterback. When Sanchez led the Jets to a 3-0 start and beat the Patriots in Foxboro, everyone was ready to anoint him the next Joe Namath before he even had four games under his belt. But now that he’s playing like the love child of J.P. Losman and Joey Harrington, nobody should be ready to throw in the towel – especially the Jets.

At least for the time being, Rex Ryan has to stick with Sanchez and ride him through the good and the bad this season. Sanchez was bound to struggle and now that he is, the first thing Ryan needs to do is make it known that the rookie is still his quarterback. Sanchez’s confidence is shaken right now and the last thing he needs is Kellen Clemens breathing down his neck.

The Jets are going to find out what kind of quarterback they have over the next couple weeks. They play the Raiders next Sunday and host the Dolphins before their bye in Week 8. If Sanchez can lead the Jets to two victories, then he can build some confidence going into the off week and into the second half of the season. If he fails, then Ryan can reassess the situation in the bye and go from there.

It’ll be interesting to see how Sanchez responds to Sunday’s performance. Ryan Leaf tanked after two strong performances his rookie year, while Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions but rebounded to be one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

Which way will Sanchez go?

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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