Mark Sanchez filling in for an injured Nick Foles Sunday against the Texans wasn’t the first time the team has had to rely on a serviceable backup in a pressure situation. In the past two seasons, Foles himself was thrust into the starting role after Michael Vick couldn’t find a way to stay healthy.
Injuries happen in football, especially at the exposed quarterback position, and many more are sure to come for the Eagles franchise. But, out of the fill-ins, who are the top 5 performers in team history?
Donovan McNabb went down with a season-ending torn ACL in 2006. Garcia was given the nod to replace him by head coach Andy Reid.
In Garcia’s first start, the Eagles were crushed 45-21 by the Colts and with a 5-6 record, many believed the Eagles would miss out on the playoffs. That was until Garcia strung together five-straight wins to end the season and win the division. Garcia passed for 1,309 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions at the helm. They fell just short of the Saints in the NFC Divisional Round, falling 27-24.
After Donovan McNabb’s memorable broken ankle game against the Arizona Cardinals in 2002, the Eagles were left with Koy Detmer and the “whip” against the 7-3 San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. He put the Eagles up 28-10, before dislocating his elbow in the third quarter which paved the way for Feeley to take the field.
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In place of McNabb and Detmer, Feeley led the Eagles to the playoffs, going 4-1 with 1,011 yards passing, six touchdowns and five interceptions. Yet his most memorable Eagles moment may have come in a loss. In 2007 he filled-in for McNabb against the 10-0 Patriots, throwing for 345 yards and three touchdowns, but three costly interceptions led to a narrow 31-28 loss.
Kevin Kolb was regarded as the team’s franchise quarterback in 2010, but was knocked out with a concussion in Week 1 against the Packers. In his place, Vick put up one of the best seasons of his career. He went 8-3 with 3,018 yards passing 21 touchdowns and six interceptions while gaining another 616 yards on the ground with nine touchdowns.
The Eagles would eventually lose to the Super Bowl champion Packers, 21-16, in the Wild Card Round, but Vick firmly entrenched himself as the starter the following season.
Things looked bleak for the 1996 Eagles after Rodney Peete went down with a knee injury. In came Detmer, the free-agent understudy of Packer great Brett Farve.
Detmer went 4-0 in his first four starts as an Eagle and the led the Eagles to the playoffs with a 7-4 record. He passed for 2,911 yards, 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in place of Peete. His season ended with a 14-0 loss to Steve Young and the 49ers in the Wild Card Round, a team he’d join in 1998.
It’s just one game, but Sanchez played admirably in place of Foles on Sunday. He threw for 202 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Texans, although one of the picks can be attributed to a Josh Huff drop.
With Foles out 6-8 weeks with a cracked collarbone, expect Sanchez to lead this team into the playoffs. Despite his critics, Sanchez has led the Jets to two AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010 and has shown more mobility in the pocket than Foles throughout his career.