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Mark Sanchez, Eagles have winning formula

After the Philadelphia Eagles' first Monday Night Football victory of the season in Week 2, we proposed the idea that coach Chip Kelly had established a rare quarterback-proof offense.

After Monday night's 45-21 shellacking of the Carolina Panthers, we can expand that idea to a quarterback-proof team.

At 7-2 and atop the NFC East, the Eagles are off to their best start in a decade via the league's best special teams unit, a steadily improving defense and mediocre quarterback play.

The two return touchdowns by Philadelphia's defense and special teams gave them nine for the season -- more than double every other team in the league. Led by Connor Barwin's 10.5 sacks in the last six games, the pass rush has been swarming for the better part of the past month.

The defense generated five turnovers, nine sacks and nine pass deflections on Monday, battering Cam Newton to the point that Football Twitter began begging coach Ron Rivera to stop the fight.

With no dominant superpower looming as a final NFC boss, this team can go as far as their quarterbacks take them.

Mark Sanchez's Eagles debut over the past two weeks has served as a reminder that he was the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL Draft four years before he devolved into a footballpunchline on an undermanned New York Jets offense.

Surrounded by the best supporting cast of his career, Sanchez has been an upgrade on the enigmatic2014 version of Nick Foles.

The Eagles' 10-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to start the second quarter of Monday's game illustrated Sanchez's potential in Kelly's high-octane offense.

Sanchez uncorked a series of pinpoint bullet passes to rookie Jordan Matthews, operating the uptempo no-huddle attack in perfect rhythm. Breaking NFL land-speed records, Sanchez even forced referee Gene Steratore to momentarily halt proceedings because the "officials weren't in place to officiate."

A quarterback who never threw for more than 265 yards without an interception in 62 starts with the Jets, he picked the Panthers defense apart for 332 yards without a turnover in his first Eagles start.

The weaknesses that haunted Sanchez in the Big Apple are mitigated in Kelly's system.

He never boasted the strongest arm, couldn't squeeze throws into tight windows, struggled to read defenses, couldn't carry an offense on his back and didn't fully process Brian Schottenheimer's esoteric game plans.

Kelly's system protects the passer, limits the playbook, defines clear reads, spreads the field, provides free-roaming receivers, forces the defense to declare its intentions and allows Sanchez to settle into a groove by stacking completions on top of completions.

It's the perfect storm for a Sanchez career resurrection over the next two months, which bodes well for a team riding the coattails of its defense and special teams for the first two months.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 10 game from an action-packed Sunday. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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