SPORTS

The return of the 'Sanchize'? Mark Sanchez steps in and leads Eagles to road victory

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez throws during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez throws during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Think the New York Jets might be wishing they still had Mark Sanchez on their roster?

While the Jets (1-8) were getting pounded 24-10 by the Chiefs (5-3) in Kansas City, Sanchez was stepping in for injured starter Nick Foles and leading the Philadelphia Eagles (6-2) to a road win against the Houston Texans (4-5).

During the offseason, the Jets and Eagles essentially switched overpaid, onetime star quarterbacks when Michael Vick and Sanchez signed free-agent contracts with each other's teams and crossed paths on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Sanchez filled in so seamlessly for the Eagles after Foles injured his shoulder late in the first quarter on Sunday that at first one of his linemen didn't know there had been a quarterback change.

Sanchez found Jeremy Maclin deep on his first play for a 52-yard gain. 

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"(After) the bomb to Maclin I turned around to congratulate (Foles), and it was Sanchez," left tackle Jason Peters said. "I didn't even know the guy was out ... a lot of confidence with Sanchez, a lot of swagger."

Sanchez, who also threw two interceptions, wound up throwing for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-21 victory.

He missed all of last season after tearing the labrum in his right shoulder in the preseason. He played in the regular season for the first time since Dec. 30, 2012, with the Jets.

The NFC East-leading Eagles completed the scoring with 3:50 left when Maclin grabbed a low throw for an 8-yard catch.

Sanchez said he was a bit nervous before the first throw to Maclin. Those butterflies dissolved after that strike. He said it helped that he made his NFL debut at Houston in 2009. He threw for 272 yards and a score in that win.

"That brought back a lot of good memories," he said.

Meantime, Vick started his first game for the Jets and looked decent, going 21-of-28 for 196 yards and a touchdown, but the team's original starter, Geno Smith, was deactivated with a shoulder injury. That meant that when Vick hit his head hard on the turf in the fourth quarter, Matt Simms got the call. He did not excel, completing only 3 of 8 passes.

Sanchez was drafted by the Jets and led the team to the AFC Championship game his first two seasons in 2009 and 2010. Along the way he picked up the nickname "The Sanchize." Two years later, however, his inability to produce wins led him to become the butt of countless jokes. A preseason injury in 2013 ended his Jets career with a whimper.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly didn't provide many details about the injury to Foles, saying only: "He's in a sling right now, and that's all I got."

Kelly was impressed with Sanchez's performance and raved about the work he puts in every week.

"I said since Day 1, 'You better have two quarterbacks in this league,'" Kelly said. "We were fortunate that when Nick did go down that we could bring Mark in. I don't think we missed a beat offensively."

Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship game his first two years in the NFL, but was released by the team in March.

Being thrust into the game at a moment's notice wasn't that big of a deal to the 27-year-old.

"You just have to stay ready," he said. "You never want to get caught off guard so I was just happy I prepared well, happy I was ready and happy I could help the team."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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