Thursday, November 14, 2013
For Foles, a second shot at a big moment
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA – The circumstances are very much the same for Nick Foles. If he is going to establish himself as the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback, the results will have to be much different.
Foles is coming off a good game on the road, a three-touchdown performance in an Eagles victory. On Sunday, he will face an NFC East rival, at home, with a chance to move into first place in the division.
Four weeks ago, Foles was coming off a good game on the road, a three-touchdown performance in an Eagles victory. That Sunday, he faced an NFC East rival, at home, with a chance to move into first place in the division.
The last time Nick Foles had a chance to put the Eagles atop the NFC East, it did not go so well.
It was a disaster.
It was against Dallas, and Foles was awful. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. In the biggest start of his young career, he threw errant passes all over Lincoln Financial Field. Foles completed just 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards before being knocked out of the game with a concussion on the final play of the third quarter.
Foles and coach Chip Kelly put the whole thing down to a bad day. They didn’t believe Foles succumbed to the pressure of playing in a big game. Foles missed the next week’s game against the Giants, another home loss, then returned to start the next two games.
Those, you’ve probably heard about. Foles tied the NFL record with seven touchdown passes in Oakland. He threw three more in Green Bay Sunday. The Eagles won both games to get to 5-5 and tie the Cowboys for the division lead.
This time it’s against Washington. At home, where the Eagles have lost a preposterous 10 consecutive games. The Cowboys are on their bye week, so a win would put the Eagles a half-game ahead of them.
So this becomes the biggest start of Foles’ career, a mid-November home game with major ramifications in the division race. That means it is also an opportunity for Foles to prove that his problems against Dallas did not stem from a failure to handle a big moment.
It makes for an interesting matchup. Foles made his first career start almost exactly a year ago, on Nov. 18, 2012, at Washington. He completed just 45.7 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. Five weeks later, he faced Washington again at Lincoln Financial Field. His numbers were much better – 32 for 48 for 345 yards, one touchdown and one interception – but the Eagles lost again.
Three of Foles’ five career interceptions have come against Washington. He hasn’t thrown one in 136 attempts this season.
“I made some mistakes,” Foles said. “I made some ill decision that didn’t turn out so good. You have to bounce back from those situations. When I go out there, I’m not trying to throw interceptions. I’m trying to throw touchdowns.”
He has thrown 16 of them this season, including 10 in the last two weeks. That would count as bouncing back from the Dallas game. But those games were on the road, against teams with less-than-potent offenses.
This week, the pressure will be at a different level. For Foles, it is the chance to prove he can handle it.