Some interceptions are worse than others

December, 4, 2013
12/04/13
11:00
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is going to throw a pass and a player in a different uniform is going to catch it.

“I don’t go into a game thinking about throwing a pick,” Foles said, “but if it does happen, it’s not going to be the end of the world. We’re going to keep moving on. If it does happen, we’re going to bounce back from it.”

Even the greatest quarterbacks throw interceptions. Foles threw two interception-worthy passes in Sunday’s 24-21 victory over Arizona. One, on a deep pass, was batted away from cornerback Patrick Peterson by Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The other was actually caught by Peterson but negated by a penalty.

Foles
When the time comes, Foles will be much better off if that inevitable interception comes on the first sort of play and not the second.

“I just play,” Foles said. “I’m out there, I’m not thinking about the [interception to touchdown] ratio. I’m thinking about giving my receivers the best opportunity to catch the ball and being smart with the ball. You’re going to have to take chances, you’re going to have to take risks. That’s how you win games. You’ve got to choose your risks wisely. I have a lot of confidence in my receivers and my line and my whole team.”

That first near-interception was consistent with Foles’ philosophy. He has been throwing the ball and trusting his receivers to get it throughout his hot streak. Jackson couldn’t make the catch, but he took care of his quarterback by preventing the turnover.

Peterson’s second chance was different. It came when Foles was under pressure during the fourth quarter. He threw off his back foot and could have given the Cardinals possession in Eagles territory with a chance to tie or take the lead.

“It’s just being more crisp,” Foles said. “Just being smart with the football. I put the ball in harm’s way at the end. There was a holding penalty that canceled the play out.”

An interception that results from a sound risk/reward decision is not nearly as hard to rebound from as one that results from a bad decision or from losing focus under pressure. Eagles coach Chip Kelly alluded to that the other day.

“He doesn't really put the ball in harm's way,” Kelly said. “Very rarely do you look at it and go, ‘I don't know about that one.’ Sometimes we've been in games -- we played in the Green Bay game and had two balls hit us directly in the hands and we dropped them. But that's not a good decision by the quarterback on the other side. Nick very rarely does that.”

Foles has thrown 19 touchdown passes this year without an interception. He is one away from tying Peyton Manning’s NFL record. He said the record is “not important at all. The most important thing is our team continuing to excel. I don’t think about the records. Records are always team records.”

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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