ARLINGTON, Texas - The reinvention of quarterback Mark Sanchez continued in a lopsided Thanksgiving Day victory over the Dallas Cowboys, complete with a light-hearted reference to the Butt Fumble.
Making his fourth start in place of the injured Nick Foles, Sanchez completed 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown Thursday in the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-10 win over the Cowboys. Sanchez also rushed seven times for 28 yards and a 2-yard TD two Thanksgivings after his infamous Butt Fumble game with the Jets.
"I mean, it's just been an incredible journey, the whole thing," Sanchez said when asked about his gaffe against the Patriots. "Wearing a Jets logo, wearing an Eagles logo, I mean this is an absolute dream come true. Best of times, worst of times, and still there's a lot of people would love to be in this position, no matter what. I'm very thankful, I'm very blessed and thrilled about the opportunity."
The Eagles, 3-1 with Sanchez as their starter and 9-3 overall, broke out of a first-place tie with the Cowboys (8-4) as a turnover-free Sanchez outplayed Tony Romo before 91,379 fans at AT&T Stadium.
Jeremy Maclin caught eight passes for 108 yards and Jordan Matthews hauled in four passes for 51 yards, including a 27-yard TD in the first quarter. LeSean McCoy carried 25 times for 159 yards and a 38-yard TD sprint in the third quarter and Cody Parkey kicked four field goals.
"I thought our guys came out with great energy," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "We were excited about playing. We knew that it was a non-traditional week. I think our guys had a great approach. Kind of tells you about the mind-set of this group. We had three really good days [of practice] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and they were excited about playing."
Sanchez, meanwhile, still carries the baggage of the Butt Fumble, the play in which he turned the wrong way on a handoff, ran into teammate Brandon Moore's backside and lost the ball -- and saw his fumble returned 32 yards for a Patriots touchdown. It was the first of two fumbles returned for touchdowns in a 10-second span in the Jets' 49-19 loss to the Patriots.
"Yeah, I mean, it [stunk]. I ran into some guy's butt and dropped the ball on the turf and they scored," Sanchez said. " . . . But the game plan was try not to do that, and we accomplished it."
Kelly is pleased to have the former USC star running his rapid-fire offense, which ran 75 total plays to the Cowboys' 58.
"Yeah, I think he's just getting more comfortable," Kelly said. "You know, he missed an entire year of football and there's no substitution for playing. He's starting to recognize the looks he's getting and seeing the second receiver, third receiver, keeping things alive. Obviously, used him a couple of times with some run stuff and I think he did a real nice job with the decision-making aspect of things and keeping people honest. Mark played a real clean game today."
Sanchez, out all of last season with a shoulder injury, directed scoring drives on the Eagles' opening two possessions in a combined 5:06. He was 17-for-24 for 202 yards at halftime.
"We really wanted to start fast, keep our tempo going, and I thought we established that," he said. "Really proud of the way we started the game for the offense, but across the board it was an amazing team win. And so much more fun when you win in this game."
Sanchez stopped for a moment and smiled.
"So much more fun."