Journeyman quarterback Mark Sanchez likened his unexpected appearance in the Washington Redskins' defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles to the first day of high school.
Sanchez was signed up last month as cover for backup-turned-starter Colt McCoy, who took over the position after Alex Smith suffered a horrific leg break during a 23-21 loss to the Houston Texans.
However, McCoy sustained what head coach Jay Gruden believes to be a fractured fibula during the second quarter of Monday's 28-13 loss to Philadelphia.
Sanchez, who was drafted in 2009 by the New York Jets and has spent time with the Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, finished with 13-of-21 passes for 100 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
And the 32-year-old said he was happy to have an opportunity to play.
"It's like the first day of high school, where do I sit at lunch type of thing," he told reporters.
"It was a tall task, no doubt, but you know there’s no excuses to make, you just do your very best and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
"I was praying for the opportunity and I thank God for the opportunity, you just never wanted it under these circumstances.
"So, with respect to Alex and Colt, I've got to do my very best to play well and help rally this team and figure out a way to win. That’s the ultimate form of respect for those guys.
"For me to go and play was an emergency situation, and those things happen. Now it goes from contingency plan to game plan, and we’ve got another tough task next week."
The defeat dented the Redskins' playoff hopes, but Gruden's main focus was on McCoy's wellbeing.
"This is a tough blow," he said. "Losing Alex is one thing, a great leader, great quarterback.
"Colt finally gets his golden opportunity and he gets kicked in the leg and breaks it. I'm heartbroken for both of those guys, really.
"Those two guys are two tough-minded, tough people. Great competitors. If I had my money down, I'd imagine they'll both be back somehow, some way."
The one bright note for the Redskins was 33-year-old Adrian Peterson becoming the oldest player in NFL history to score a 90-yard touchdown, with his effort the longest in the team's history.
It left Peterson tied fifth on the all-time list of rushing touchdown leaders alongside Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown.
"I definitely looked up to Jim Brown," Peterson said. "He's a guy that inspires me.
"He is definitely one of those guys, when I look on that list, that I want to surpass. He paved the way.
"He's arguably the greatest running back to play the game. To be in a position to tie him and, God's will, to go past him is a humbling feeling."
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