Everyone knows how the story played out. Sanchez was the quarterback from 2009 to 2012. He led two of those teams to the AFC Championship, but he was also benched at times in 2012 for his untimely interceptions. He has the most road playoff wins for any quarterback in franchise history (four) and has an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to his legendary “Butt-Fumble.” Sanchez missed the entire 2013 season after he was injured in a preseason game before joining the Eagles as a backup.
As fate would have it, just eight games into the season, on Monday night, Sanchez started once again. And, he didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, he was 20 for 37 for 332 yards and two touchdowns the first time in his career he threw for that many yards without turning the football over. Sanchez was, as ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said an unprecedented amount of times, a “reinvented” quarterback.
Chip Kelly set his quarterback up to succeed, utilizing the best part of Sanchez’s game — his mid-range passing attack — and providing the 28-year-old with tremendous weapons. Don’t be mistaken: Sanchez didn’t win this game for the Eagles. The defense and their nine sacks made it almost impossible for Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton to complete a pass. Still, he looked like a revitalized man. He looked happy and energetic, dashing to meet a teammate after they scored a touchdown and high-fiving the coaching staff that set him up to be successful again.
Sanchez isn’t a Tom Brady-esque quarterback that can make the guys around him better, but with some talent (hello, Jeremy Maclin, Lesean McCoy and Darren Sproles) he can be a very good quarterback in the NFL. It took the Eagles just a few months to realize this, while the Jets floundered in their attempts to develop him over four years. Now, the Jets sit at 2-8 with the guy they drafted to take Sanchez’s place on the bench, while Mark Sanchez is the quarterback of a 7-2, NFC East leading football team. I wonder who came out on top.
Kelly Kultys is the Editor-in-Chief for The Fordham Ram