And, in the third quarter, the fans got what they wanted.
Trying to rebound from their Thanksgiving nightmare -- a 49-19 loss to the Patriots, highlighted by Mark Sanchez fumbling as he ran into the backside of his own lineman -- the Jets instead continued to spiral downward early Sunday. Sanchez threw three more interceptions in the first half against the Cardinals, and the Jets trailed 3-0 at the break.
The never-ending bumbling on offense led a sparse Meadowlands crowd to begin calling for McElroy, the team's third QB, active Sunday because of Tim Tebow's absence with a rib injury. McElroy, a seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft, had never made a regular season appearance.
But, after a three-and-out early in the middle of the third quarter, he was seen on the Jets sideline getting ready for game action and under center on the following drive.
Sanchez had to suffer through that entire holiday massacre last week, but you probably won't find too many Jets fans feeling for Sanchez though. The fourth-year quarterback has been under fire for this entire season (and on plenty of occasions prior), and his Week 13 meltdown has come against a Cardinals team with seven consecutive losses.
Sanchez's issues began immediately.
On the Jets' first offensive play, he hurried a pass away while under pressure and badly overthrew Jeremy Kerley. The Cardinals' Kerry Rhodes, a former Jet, was waiting to make the interception. Rhodes victimized Sanchez again later in the first quarter, then Anthony Sherman stepped in front of a Sanchez pass in the second.
Sanchez finished the first half 9 of 16 for 95 yards and 3 INTs. When he was replaced, he was 10 of 21 for 97 yards, those 3 picks, and a rating of 21.4.
McElroy's presence had an immediate impact on the Jets, and certainly their fans, who went nuts upon seeing him take the field. The team responded in kind, immediately marching down the field on an energized 10-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that saw McElroy go 2 for 3 for 9 yards with his first career touchdown pass on a bootleg to Jeff Cumberland. That touchdown proved to be the winning points in a 7-6 contest, as McElroy finished 5 of 7 for 29 yards and the score (a 118.5 rating). Looks like there will be a QB controversy in New York, after all. Perhaps just not with the guy we thought.