Sunday, November 3, 2013
Riley Cooper catches 3 of Foles' 7 TDs
By Phil Sheridan
OAKLAND, Calif. -- On a day Nick Foles tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes, it was all too easy to overlook Riley Cooper's career day.
“Some people wanted to throw him under the bus after the first couple games,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “He’s a big, physical target. I’m really happy with his production.”
Cooper, who became a starter when Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL in training camp, had just eight catches through the Eagles’ first five games. Kelly was asked weekly about his lack of production and whether he was able to get open. It didn’t help that Cooper had drawn attention over the summer in the worst way, when a video surfaced on the Internet of him using a racial epithet.
Cooper has 17 catches in the Eagles’ past four games. He caught three of Foles’ touchdowns Sunday, including two within three minutes that gave the Eagles a 21-3 lead against the Oakland Raiders. Cooper also caught Foles’ record-tying seventh TD throw, making the score 49-13 late in the third quarter.
“I was just out there playing my game,” Cooper said. “The quarterback put the ball right where it needed to be. I give all the credit to him.”
Cooper fooled rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden with a double move to get open for his 17-yard score early in the second quarter.
“He muscled up and got physical and got by the guy,” Kelly said. “He does a great job catching the ball.”
Cooper caught a touchdown pass at Tampa Bay, which just happened to be the last complete game played by Foles.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Foles said. “He’s a hard worker. He has a lot of speed. I don’t think he gets a lot of credit for that. He’s a fast guy.”
Cooper showed that speed on a 63-yard touchdown -- again at Hayden’s expense -- and by taking a bubble screen 42 yards to help set up the Eagles’ first touchdown.
“It’s definitely fun,” Cooper said. “When you feel like you’re contributing, that’s the biggest thing. I don’t want to get 1,000 yards every game. I don’t want multiple touchdowns every game. I just want to contribute.”