EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mark Sanchez was well on his way to pulling ahead in the New York Jets' quarterback competition.
Then came two costly mistakes that overshadowed an otherwise solid performance — and kept the door open a bit for Geno Smith.
Sanchez led the Jets on five scoring drives through three quarters in a 37-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night. But, he also threw an interception in the red zone and then held onto the ball too long on third down as the first half ended, keeping the Jets (1-1) from a chance at a field goal.
"We're not willing to name a starting quarterback right now," coach Rex Ryan said. "Will we name one before the Giants game (next Saturday)? I don't know, but right now, we're not comfortable making that decision."
Blaine Gabbert, meanwhile, might have settled the Jaguars' quarterback competition — as long as his thumb is OK.
Gabbert led the Jaguars (0-2) on two scoring drives and staked his claim to the Jaguars' starting job before leaving with a sprained thumb in the second quarter. Gabbert, competing with Chad Henne, was 13 of 16 for 165 yards and a touchdown to Allen Reisner before the injury.
"It's unfortunate," said Gabbert, wearing a soft black brace. "It's part of the game. We'll see tomorrow what the deal is. I just dinged it up a little bit. I just got hit on the back of it. Nothing major."
Gabbert said he banged thumbs with a defensive player, who tried to swat away the ball. He was replaced by Henne, but the Jaguars announced that Gabbert was coming out of the game regardless of the injury.
"I didn't really push it," Gabbert said. "I was coming out after that series anyway. It was more precautionary, ice it to alleviate some of the swelling."
Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 9 yards and had a 20-yard catch in his first game action since suffering a foot injury last October.
"It felt great," Jones-Drew said. "Getting tackled was great."
Justin Blackmon, who opened camp on the physically unable to perform list following groin surgery this summer, had three catches for 37 yards in his preseason debut.
Smith sat out with a sprained ankle, suffered in the preseason opener last Friday at Detroit, leaving Sanchez to play the bulk of the game. Sanchez finished 13 of 23 for 169 yards for the Jets before being replaced by Matt Simms in the fourth quarter.
"I felt with Geno not playing," Sanchez said, "he would have gotten another shot."
Kahlil Bell had touchdown runs of 5 yards and 1 yard in the third quarter for the Jets, and Bilal Powell had a game-high 68 yards on seven carries. Chris Ivory, who missed most of training camp with hamstring issues, ran for 13 yards on six rushes in his first preseason action.
Both teams came in with unsettled quarterback situations, and the Jets will have an interesting week after Sanchez had some good moments and some others that likely reminded them of previous years' inconsistencies.
Smith watched the game from the sideline after being told Friday that he would sit out and rest his right ankle.