QB Foles answers critics with historic effort
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The real Nick Foles is a little Peyton-esque.
Foles responded from the worst game of his career with one for the ages, tying an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 49-20 victory over Oakland on Sunday.
That was quite a turnaround after he was 11 of 29 for 80 yards in a 17-3 loss to Dallas on Oct. 20.
Considering he’s made just nine starts, many are wondering if Foles is more like the guy who played against the Cowboys or the one who put up historic numbers vs. the Raiders.
“I think what happened in the Cowboys game was such a surprise to everybody because that’s not what Nick expects out of himself, not what we expect out of him,” coach Chip Kelly said Monday. “I thought that what happened in the Cowboys game was an exception, not the rule. That’s not the Nick Foles I know.”
Foles’ performance may have been the best statistical game by a quarterback in NFL history. He completed 22 of 28 passes for 406 yards, no interceptions and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He had seven touchdowns before the end of the third quarter, played two more series and sat out the final 13 minutes.
Only six other players threw seven TD passes in a game, including Peyton Manning against Baltimore in this year’s season opener. Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp also did it between 1943-69.
Of the seven players, Foles is the only to have more TDs than incomplete passes. Foles, Manning and Tittle are the only ones to throw seven TDs without an interception.
“You know, really what happened in the Cowboys game was the first time I’ve ever seen that from him,” Kelly said. “Let’s hope it’s the last time we ever see it from him. I know from being with him, he’s a guy that’s a student of the game. He works extremely hard at it, doesn’t seem to get rattled. In that game I don’t know what happened.
“But let’s move on and let’s hopefully we work off the Tampa game and we work off of this last game as we continue to move forward.”
Foles, a second-year pro who started six games last year, lost the starting competition to Michael Vick in training camp. He played well after replacing an injured Vick in the second quarter of a win at the New York Giants on Oct. 6, and was the NFC Player of the Week against the Buccaneers the next game. Then came the awful performance vs. Dallas that ended with him suffering a concussion.
After missing one game, Foles returned to help the Eagles (4-5) stay within a game of the first-place Cowboys (5-4) in the NFC East. He was outstanding against the Raiders from the start, leading an offense that hadn’t scored a TD the past two games to 28 points on the first four possessions.
And, Foles did it against a defense that came in ranked 10th in the league.
“In the Cowboys game, I was not very accurate, and I did not play well,” Foles said. “You really have to get back to the fundamentals, and I was excited to go out there and get a win for the Eagles.”
His teammates never doubted his ability.
“He has so much confidence, and that’s something you need in a quarterback,” said Riley Cooper, who caught three of the scoring passes. “So, he handled it great. He’s a real winner.”
Foles always earns praise for his work ethic.
“Well, I would definitely say that has it in him,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “Just the way he prepares for these games, he comes out there ready to dominate.”
Foles appears to have ended the quarterback controversy in Philadelphia, though Kelly won’t make any commitments. Vick still isn’t ready to practice because of an injured left hamstring so Foles probably would get the start at Green Bay next week regardless of his seven TDs.
Overall, Foles has 1,028 yards passing, 13 TDs, zero interceptions and a 127.4 this season.
“He went from NFC Player of the Week against Tampa Bay to not playing very well against the Cowboys to now coming back,” Kelly said. “He’s probably got a life full of lessons in the last three weeks.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi