Photo: David Maialetti
The Philadelphia Eagles now have a more recent win than the Phillies, woohoo! After a long eight-game slide, the hometown birds are finally back in the W column by beating the playoff hopeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rookie QB Nick Foles is certainly impressing everyone from fans, to teammates, to coaches. He looked like a poised veteran when he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin as time expired.
Foles climbed another rung on the development ladder against Tampa Bay. He completed 32 out of 51 passes for 381 yards, two touchdowns and 0...count em'...zero interceptions. He also looked good in running for a score in the first quarter.
Foles certainly is no Mike Vick when it comes to mobility, but he has certainly shown he has some wheels and more importantly, he has something called "pocket mobility", which is a very important asset to have.
After the Bucs scored late in the game to take a 21-10 lead, the game appeared as if it were iced. Foles and the Eagles offense took over with about 7:30 left to go in the game. Foles then promptly led a 72-yard TD drive to pull the Eagles back within striking distance.
However, after the Bucs got the ball back with 3:55 to go, it appeared the defense would turn to jelly again. On the first play, Bucs RB Doug Martin ran it for 11 yards and an easy first down. But, after being aided by an offensive holding penalty, the defense held and forced a punt.
The Eagles got the ball back with 2:44 to go, no timeouts and 64 yards away from the end zone. Foles converted two critical fourth-down plays during the final drive, including an impressive 22-yard pass on 4th and 5 from the Bucs' 23 yard line.
He then hurried the offense up to spike the ball at the one with two seconds left. With time for one single play, Foles apparently told Marty Mornhinweg which play he wanted to run...so they did and he delivered the game-winning TD pass to Maclin.
That led to this reaction on the Eagles' sideline...
Courtesy of Dan McQuade
There hasn't been much reason for that this year, huh?
More after the jump...
It was good stuff from the rookie QB and it was great to see him pull a game out like that, even if the win may set the team back in terms of draft positioning (sorry, couldn't help but bring that up!).
With that said, I was hoping to see this kind of performance from Foles. As stated last week, I thought this was a game that Foles could thrive and gain some confidence since the Bucs do own the league's worst pass defense.
The previous two weeks, Foles was helped immensely by the running game and performance of Bryce Brown. However, it was Foles who stepped up and carried the team against Tampa as the Bucs' No. 1 run defense completely shut down the running game.
The Eagles' next opponent, Cincinnati, will be the toughest test to date for Foles and this young offense.
The Bengals have the most complete defense that Foles has seen yet. As of today, they're ranked 7th in overall defense. They rank 11th against both the pass and the run, but also lead the league in sacks with 42.
How Foles and the offensive line respond to the Bengals' pass rush will likely determine the outcome of the game. The Bengals only have 10 interceptions on the year, but facing a rookie QB and patchwork offensive line, that total is in line to increase by at least a few this week.
This is another game I want to see how Foles reacts. He faced some pressure against a Bucs defense that only had 18 sacks going into that game, and now he will face the best team at sacking opposing quarterbacks.
If he felt pressure against Tampa, just wait until Thursday night!
It will be another good test for the young guy. Let's see if he panics, gets happy feet, makes poor decisions and turns the ball over in the face of pressure. Or, maybe he'll handle it with the poise he showed against the Bucs.
Either way, it'll be an important evaluation of Foles. He has steadily progressed each week so far. It will be interesting to see if he continues with that, or if he regresses like one might expect against a better defense.
We have three more games to see if Foles is the future and he needs as many "good tests" as possible. After all, we don't need any more fools gold here (or would it be Foles gold?).
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