After the game this past Sunday night, I was crushed at how disappointing the Eagles’ performance against the Cowboys was. They came out flat from the beginning and were playing catch-up all night. They did manage to come back from the original 21-0 deficit they put themselves into, taking the lead 24-21. But then the Cowboys marched right down the field and took the lead back, never relinquishing it again. Who’s fault was it? After a loss, there’s always going to be a lot of finger-pointing by the media and the fanbase, and I believe the secondary was the biggest reason for the loss. But, after Mark Sanchez’s interception late in the game, the first thing I did was hate him and blame him.
Should I really have blamed him though? I decided that before I went into full rampage mode on Sanchez for the way he’s played, I decided to go through the Eagles schedule game by game this year and see who has played better. I decided to focus on five major categories to compare Sanchez’s performance with Nick Foles’ this year: passing yards, total points, offensive points, touchdowns and turnovers. I gave the values for each game in which they played basically the whole game, excluding their win against Houston since both quarterbacks split time and it skewed the stats. Offensive points exclude any points scored from special teams and defensive touchdowns, but include all field goals. Here are the stats:
Foles: 322 (Jax), 311 (Ind), 325 (Wsh), 195 (SF), 207 (Stl), 248 (NYG), 411 (Arz)
Sanchez: 332 (Car), 346 (GB), 307 (Ten), 217 (Dal), 96 (Sea), 252 (Dal)
Foles: 34 (Jax), 30 (Ind), 37 (Wsh), 21 (SF), 34 (Stl), 27 (NYG), 20 (Arz)
Sanchez: 45 (Car), 20 (GB), 43 (Ten), 33 (Dal), 14 (Sea), 27 (Dal)
Foles: 27 (Jax), 30 (Ind), 30 (Wsh), 0 (SF), 20 (Stl), 27 (NYG), 20 (Arz)
Sanchez: 31 (Car), 20 (GB), 36 (Ten), 33 (Dal), 14 (Sea), 27 (Dal)
Foles: 2 (Jax), 1 (Ind), 3 (Wsh), 0 (SF), 2 (Stl), 2 (NYG), 2 (Arz)
Sanchez: 2 (Car), 2 (GB), 1 (Ten), 2 (1 passing, 1 rushing, Dal), 2 (Sea), 0 (Dal)
Foles: 3 (1 INT, 2 fumbles, Jax), 1 (1 INT, Ind), 0 (Wsh), 2 (2 INTs, SF), 2 (1 INT, 1 fumble, Stl), 2 (2 INTs, NYG), 2 (2 INTs, Arz)
Sanchez: 0 (Car), 4 (2 INTs, 2 fumbles, GB), 2 (2 INTs, Ten), 0 (Dal), 1 (1 INT, Sea), 2 (2 INTs, Dal)
Based on simple math, it seems like Sanchez has the advantage, winning three out of the five categories (total points, offensive points, and turnovers). Foles had more passing yards and touchdowns, which are more obvious offensive categories, but sometimes fewer turnovers has a bigger impact on the team than more touchdowns. It’s been over a month and a half since we’ve seen Foles play, so I think some people have forgotten his struggles. Foles committed three turnovers against the 2-12 Jaguars, including lost fumbles on the first two possessions. He also threw two interceptions in three separate games. He only had two starts in which he had fewer than two total turnovers too.
Now, Sanchez has been more of a mixed bag in terms of turnovers, which is why he seems like he’s been struggling more. He had zero turnovers in two games- Carolina and the first Dallas game- both of which were large wins and big morale boosters for the team. But he’s also had three other games where he committed two or more turnovers, including four against Green Bay. He’s never thrown more than two interceptions in a game, but he’s thrown two picks in three of the six games I’ve listed, and that doesn’t even include the two he threw against Houston.
In passing yards, Foles has been more consistent and averages 30 yards per game more than Sanchez. Sanchez started with three straight starts of over 300 yards, but then has gone three in a row below the 300 mark, including an unacceptable mark of just 96 yards against Seattle. That’s absolutely terrible. They were pretty close in terms of total points per game, but Sanchez had a fair advantage in offensive points per game. The offense did produce 30 points in a game twice with Foles under center, but never more than 30. Sanchez has been the starter for three games in which the offense has scored over 30 points.
There’s no doubt that Foles received a lot of help on the scoreboard from the defense and special teams, but he was also playing with a makeshift offensive line with the injuries of Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce and the suspension of Lane Johnson. That has a bigger effect that one might think. Sure, Sanchez has to deal with Andrew Gardner at right guard, who honestly is not a good player, but that’s a much better situation than playing with the awful lineup that Foles had to deal with.
If it seems like I’m defending Foles a bit, it’s because I am. I know that doesn’t seem to be fair considering Sanchez led in more categories, but here’s my bottom line: Foles had less to work with and should’ve had wins over San Francisco and Arizona if it weren’t for other players failing him. They were literally just a couple yards combined from beating both of those teams. If they had, Foles would’ve been undefeated in games he played in this year. Sanchez has bad losses in two separate games. Sanchez has been serviceable, but not much better than that. I think his time on the field needs to end. I’m really hoping Foles can be back for the playoffs, if they can even get there…