He has already etched his name in the NFL record books for a number of reasons, including being the lowest-drafted rookie quarterback to start and win a playoff game.
Now, he’s three games from reaching heights no rookie quarterback has ever achieved: the Super Bowl.
A win would put him in the company of four other rookie quarterbacks who have reached the conference-championship round:
Did Sanchez, the fifth overall selection of the 2009 NFL draft, throw more interceptions (20) than touchdowns (12) in his rookie season?
Did he help the Jets win their first playoff game in five years?
On the road in the wild-card round, Sanchez went 12-of-15 for 182 yards with a passer rating of 139.4 in his playoff debut against the Cincinnati Bengals.
After defeating the San Diego Chargers 17-14, Sanchez and the Jets made their first AFC Championship Game appearance since 1998. They managed to hold an 11-point lead in the first half but ultimately fell to Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts.
Flacco set 20 school records in two seasons with the Delaware Blue Hens before being drafted with the 18th overall pick — and it didn’t take long for him to make his mark in the pros.
Flacco earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and helped lead the Ravens to a wild-card appearance where they beat the Miami Dolphins 27-9 for their first playoff win since January 2002. Baltimore beat the Tennessee Titans 16-13 in the following round and lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers 23-14 in the conference championship.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004
Roethlisberger went unbeaten in 13 regular-season games as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback and earned the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but his hot streak was quickly challenged in the postseason.
Roethlisberger eked out a win in his playoff debut despite tossing two second-half interceptions against the New York Jets — one for a touchdown and one with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
Pittsburgh’s 15-game win streak came to a grinding halt against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Roethlisberger threw three picks, and the Patriots moved on to their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.
King, a second-round selection, entered his first game in Week 12 after Trent Dilfer suffered a broken clavicle. He won four of his five starts to end the regular season, including a Week 17 win over the Chicago Bears that secured the NFC Central title.
The Bucs overcame a 13-0 deficit to beat Washington 14-13 in the divisional round. Despite keeping the “Greatest Show on Turf” in check for most of the NFC Championship Game, King & Co. fell to the eventual Super Bowl winners, the then-St. Louis Rams, 11-6.