Ryan benched Sanchez for the first time in his NFL career, a seismic decision that could signal the beginning of the end of the quarterback's time in New York.
Sanchez struggled mightily before being pulled in what became a 7-6 Jets win over the Arizona Cardinals, completing 10 of 21 passes for 97 yards with three interceptions and zero points. In truth, Sanchez could have thrown five picks if Arizona's secondary was more opportunistic.
"From the get-go, from the first play, it just wasn't my day," Sanchez said, via The Associated Press.
Ryan hung with Sanchez well into the third quarter before turning to Greg McElroy. The second-year pro promptly led the Jets on a 10-play, 53-yard touchdown drive, the only points the team needed with Ryan Lindley running the Cardinals' offense.
"I'm really happy for the team and really happy for Greg," Sanchez said. "He came in and played his butt off."
If you've followed Sanchez, you knew he'd handle this situation the right way. There's not much he can say at this point. Given his struggles, some time away from the spotlight probably wouldn't hurt.
"It's a tough situation for (Sanchez) now where everyone is pretty much against him," said Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes, who picked off his former teammate twice. "Whatever he does that's not positive will be taken like it was today. I talked to him during the game when he got benched. I went over there and talked to him on the side and told him to keep his head up."
The MetLife Stadium crowd cheered loudly when McElroy entered the game, a sign of just how far Sanchez's stock has fallen since the back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances that began his career. Sanchez gained a lot of rope in his first two seasons; he's used it all up.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.