Mark Sanchez, the man hand picked by Chip Kelly to become the Philadelphia Eagles' backup quarterback this offseason, put together his best start in over two years, propelling the leaders of the NFC East on Monday Night Football.
In his first start since 2012, replacing an injured and somewhat inefficient Nick Foles from this season, Sanchez propelled the Eagles to a 45-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers completing 20-of-37 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns. The former Trojan followed the pass-happy script laid forth by former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly.
Surprisingly enough, the Eagles (led by LeSean McCoy) only rushed the football for 37 total yards, but the passing game of Mark Sanchez moved the chains at an efficient clip in the first half. Despite the fact Sanchez was 31st in the NFL in QBR over the last two seasons, the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft has the tools to succeed this year.
Mark Sanchez didn't suddenly get better. He's just in a better situation with a better coach.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) November 11, 2014
After hearing tough news of the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Carson Palmer, the Trojan flock of quarterbacks were at a loss for a marquee star to take center stage in the league. We know that Matt Leinart now works in broadcasting with Fox Sports 1 and occasionally the Pac-12 Networks. Heck, even Matt Barkley came in to replace Sanchez mid-way through the fourth quarter, finishing his night 0-for-1 passing with plenty of handoffs in the backfield.
Nick Foles is expected to miss another 6-7 weeks, which means Mark Sanchez will most likely start for the rest of the regular season. He could even lead the Eagles into the postseason run, assuming he doesn't take a massive decline. It will be interesting to see how Sanchez can handle the rest of this schedule, especially if you look at Philadelphipa's very winnable schedule.
If the Philadelphia Eagles continue to play great special teams, aggressive defense and can move the chains at an efficient rate, there's nothing to say this team can't finish as one of the top two or three teams in the NFC.