CHICAGO --This was as good as any 4-play, 53-yard drive that Mark Sanchez has ever engineered. In his first action as an Eagle, albeit in preseason form, Sanchez was on point in that drive that led to a touchdown that ignited a very fine performance from Sanchez in the role of No. 2 quarterback on Friday night in the preseason opener against the Bears.
Taking over at the Eagles' 47-yard line after safety Nate Allen came up with a deep interception against quarterback Jordan Palmer, Sanchez went right to work. He went down the gut to tight end Zach Ertz for 34 yards and then went right back to Ertz on the next snap for 18 more yards to the 1-yard line. A completion in the left flat to tight end James Casey lost 3 yards, but Sanchez made the right read on the next snap and handed off to running back Matthew Tucker for the 4-yard touchdown run to bring the Eagles to a 7-7 tie in a game they eventually lost, 34-28, at Soldier Field.
Sanchez completed 7 of 10 passes in his quarter of work. He looked outstanding. In addition to the touchdown drive after Allen's interception, Sanchez led the Eagles on another touchdown drive covering 51 yards in seven plays. Sanchez was 3 of 4 on that drive, with completions to Tucker (15 yards), Jordan Matthews (5 yards) and then rookie wide receiver Josh Huff for 4 yards to convert a third-and-3 play from the Bears' 5-yard line.
"It felt good. I thought we got off to a good start with that second group there. I wanted to get as many completions as possible and move it down the field," said Sanchez. "The O-line looked great. There was a bunch of time back there in the pocket and they made it easy on us at the skill positions to make plays. I was proud of the guys around me.
"I was really excited. I'm just blessed to come back and to feel 100 percent and get this whole thing rolling again. It was fun."
Sanchez signed with the Eagles in the offseason after his release from the New York Jets. He missed all of last season after suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason, and he looks at this opportunity as a new lease on his football life.
And, ever the perfectionist, Sanchez knows that he has a lot of work to do to play at the highest level.
"There's still some rust out there. It wasn't perfect, trust me. There are plenty of things to work on, plenty of things to improve on. I just expected to play like I had been practicing, and I had been practicing well."