10 plays that shaped Eagles' season: No. 5

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
8:00
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA – If our No. 4 play that shaped the Eagles' season foreshadowed Nick Foles’ sublime second half of the season, all No. 5 did was produce a plain old shadow over everything Foles did.

Foles
Oct. 20 vs. Dallas: Nick Foles rolls to his right, takes a terrible sack and winds up with a concussion.

The final play of the third quarter was Foles’ final play of his worst afternoon in the NFL. It raised the question of whether his NFC offensive player of the week performance in Tampa Bay was a mirage and threw the Eagles’ quarterback situation into further turmoil. Foles would miss the next week’s game because of a concussion, and Michael Vick would try to come back too soon and aggravate his hamstring injury.

But that was in the future. In the moment, Foles couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going against the Cowboys that day. He overthrew open receivers, if he saw them at all. The Eagles were held scoreless in the first half and weren’t doing much better in the third quarter when linebacker DeMeco Ryans’ interception gave them the ball at the Dallas 30.

Foles couldn’t do anything with the opportunity. On a third-down play, he drifted to his left, then ran to his right as defenders closed in. He held the ball too long and took a big hit from George Selvie and Jarius Wynn.

After Foles returned and led the Eagles to five consecutive wins, that Dallas game hung over him. Whenever he looked like a true franchise quarterback, the conversation would circle back to his mystifying performance on Oct. 20.

Did he shrink in a big game?

Was there something about the Cowboys?

Would it happen again?

It wasn’t until Foles defeated the Cowboys in the season finale to clinch the NFC East title that the shadow was cleared away for good.

On Monday, we'll take a look at No. 6 in our series.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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