Back in Week 9 of the 2014 season, quarterback Mark Sanchez entered the Eagles game in Houston after Nick Foles left with an injury. On that day, Sanchez helped lead the Eagles to a 31-21 victory on the road over the Texans. The circumstances were a bit different today, but Sanchez was once again called into action late in the third quarter after Sam Bradford left the game. This time, however, Sanchez's efforts weren't enough, as the Eagles fell to the Miami Dolphins 20-19.
"You've got to be ready every week," Sanchez said after the game. "You never want to see a teammate go down. That's never the circumstance that you want in which you want to play, but when you do get a chance to play you have to make the most of it, and that's what I was trying to do."
Sanchez put up some strong numbers upon entering the game, completing 14 of his 23 passes for 156 yards. He led the Eagles down the field on a number of possessions, but a few missed opportunities prevented the Eagles from punching the ball into the end zone.
"I'm in charge of the job, just like anybody else, whether you get the reps in practice or not," Sanchez said. "There should be a seamless transition. I thought at times there (was). At other times, can (the receivers and I) get a little more familiar? Sure. Is it only going to get better with repetition and practice? Of course, but the point was to just get in and win the game, and unfortunately that didn't happen, but we've got a long season ahead of us. We just have to get ready to play."
At this time, there's no timetable on Bradford's return (Bradford was diagnosed with a concussion and went in for X-rays on his left, non-throwing shoulder that came back negative), so it looks like Sanchez could have control of the offense heading into the week of training. Aside from already having a year of experience in this Eagles offense, Sanchez also has the trust of his teammates, which should make his transition into the lineup go that much more smoothly.
"I don't think things change that much," said tight end Brent Celek. "We're still running our offense. Mark is a good quarterback, so we all have faith and trust in him."
"You know how I feel about Mark," wide receiver Jordan Matthews said after the game. "Me and Mark have a great relationship. He's always coming in and working hard. We watched film this morning before the game. He'll tell me some stuff I need to look at to be ready for.
"He always has good energy. He wants to make plays. He's going to come in and give guys opportunities, and he made a couple of plays out there today. Now with a full week of preparation with the ones, which is what it's probably looking like, I know he's going to be able to give us a great game versus the Bucs."
Another sign of Sanchez's expertise when it comes to knowing this Eagles offense is the high-speed pace that he was able to operate at on Sunday, much like he did during his action last season.
"That's how I've always tried to run it," said Sanchez. "We just get up and get going as fast as we can. We moved the ball really well, and unfortunately we weren't set on one of them, and then Miles (Austin) was just out of bounds on another one, and then we turned the ball over, so it's really too bad. We just have to finish one more of those drives and we end up winning the game."
When Bradford will be able to return to the field is still up in the air at this point. Head coach Chip Kelly did not have any additional info after the game, but what is certain is that the Eagles have a trusted veteran in Sanchez who has proved once again that he is capable of leading the offense.
The Eagles returned home to face the Dolphins in Week 10 of the regular season. View the full gallery here...