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Thursday, January 23, 2014
10 plays that shaped Eagles' season: No. 4

By Phil Sheridan

PHILADELPHIA -- In Week 6, Nick Foles made his first start of the 2013 season in the same stadium, Raymond James in Tampa, he earned his only win in six 2012 starts.

Foles
It was assumed at the time that Foles would hold the fort until Michael Vick's hamstring -– injured the week before at the Meadowlands –- healed up. The biggest question was how long that might take.

That brings us to No. 4 in our list of 10 plays that defined the Eagles’ 2013 season:

Oct. 13 in Tampa Bay: Foles throws a 47-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper.

There was another strong candidate for the defining play from this game. Earlier, Foles had found DeSean Jackson in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. That red-zone score foreshadowed the Eagles’ improvement there with Foles under center (or way behind center, usually).

But throwing touchdowns to DeSean Jackson is something Eagles quarterbacks from Donovan McNabb to Kevin Kolb to Vick had made routine. Jackson is one of the team’s elite playmakers.

Cooper, up until that point, had been the topic of conversation for two unpleasant reasons: the preseason incident in which he was recorded dropping a racial epithet, and his modest production despite playing nearly every down. Coach Chip Kelly explained at least once a week, often more, that Cooper was getting open, blocking well and generally doing what he was asked.

When Foles found Cooper streaking down the left sideline for a 47-yard score, it marked the beginning of a productive relationship between the two. Cooper caught four passes for 120 yards in the Eagles' 31-20 win. From then on, nobody asked Kelly why Cooper couldn’t get open.

More important, it was a sign that Foles would find ways to involve all the receivers in the offense.

On Friday, we’ll take a look at the fifth play that shaped the Eagles’ season.