The Jets made one big mistake in regards to the drafting of Mark Sanchez.

They didn’t have a plan B.

Not having an experienced backup to tutor Sanchez could cost this team a playoff berth. Amazingly, the Jets are still in the thick of the playoff race despite falling, 10-7, to a beat-up Atlanta Falcons team. At 7-7 the Jets are still in it thanks to losses by the Broncos (8-6) and Dolphins (7-7).

Getting back to the point. The Jets could’ve and should’ve signed a reliable backup. Every facet of the Jets team is solid. The defense, despite an awful collapse on the Falcons final drive, has been very good. The running game is tops in the league and the special teams, save for a terrible game yesterday, has been decent most of the season.

Why don’t the Jets have a playoff berth locked up already? Mark Sanchez. Why do the Jets only have seven wins? Mark Sanchez.

Football is a team game, so dumping everything in the lap of one player isn’t right. But nearly all of Sanchez’ 20 interceptions has led to an opponent’s touchdown or field goal. His first pick in Sunday’s loss led to an Atlanta field goal. Those three points turned out to be the difference between winning and losing.

Even in week one, Sanchez’ pick-six was the Texans’ only score in the Jets 24-7 win.

On the road against the Patriots last month, Sanchez’ four-interception performance doomed the Jets. The five picks he tossed against the Bills led directly to that terrible overtime loss. He also had four turnovers against the Saints, including one interception and fumble, which were both returned for touchdowns.

The one piece of good news is that Sanchez is only a rookie. Peyton Manning tossed 28 interceptions his rookie season and the Colts went 3-13. Look how he turned out. So there is hope.

But whether Sanchez can live up to the hype will depend on several things:

1. He has to develop a first-one in, last-one-out attitude in regards to film study.

2. The Jets MUST get a veteran who can school and relieve Sanchez when needed.

3. Sanchez has to show more humility after bad performances. The loosey-goosey attitude reflects poorly on his attitude.

It’s too early to write of Sanchez. But at some point he’s going to have to grow up as a quarterback.