For the first time in almost a year, Nick Foles was talking about an interception he had just thrown.
After a franchise-record 232 consecutive passes without an interception, Foles actually made a mistake.
To the disbelief of everybody.
“It wasn’t a smart decision by me,” Foles said. “In that situation, I need to be smart with the football and maybe just take a sack. I put the ball in harm’s way, and that’s something that as a quarterback you never want to do.”
Of course, it didn’t count.
That’s the way Foles’ season has gone. He makes a mistake for the first time in about a calendar year and it gets negated.
Foles remarkable streak of passes without an interception appeared to end in the fourth quarter against the Cards Sunday, when he was picked off by all-pro cornerback Patrick Peterson in Eagles territory with the Eagles desperately clinging to a three-point lead.
But Peterson’s pick was nullified by a holding penalty on Tyrann Mathieu.
The streak lives.
With a 16-yard completion to Zach Ertz in the third quarter of the Eagles’ 24-21 win over the Cards at the Linc, Foles tied Michael Vick’s franchise record of 224 consecutive passes without an interception. On his next attempt, which went incomplete, Foles broke Vick’s record, which he set in 2010.
Foles will take a streak of 233 consecutive passes without in INT into the Eagles’ game Sunday at the Linc against the Lions.
Foles hasn’t thrown an interception since Dec. 23, 2012, when London Fletcher picked him off in the Eagles’ 27-20 loss to the Redskins.
“I know that Mike will be proud of me, and a lot of that [record] goes to Mike helping me and being there with me and just watching him play and picking his brain,” Foles said. “We’ll talk before the game, and he’s been a great veteran for me.
“That’s what’s great about Mike. The record might have been broken, but he’s going to be proud of me.”
Foles completed 21 of 34 passes for 237 yards with three more touchdowns Sunday, and he’s now thrown 19 TDs and no interceptions this year. In NFL history, only Peyton Manning – with 20 TDs this year – has opened a season with more touchdowns before throwing an interception.
“It just goes with learning,” Foles said. “I learned through making mistakes. I learned from throwing interceptions in high school and college and practice. I try to push it in practice, test my boundaries, see what throws are capable against a certain defense.
“It’s through a lot of mistakes that I’ve learned that, and I’ve got to continue working on it. … Mistakes like the one I made today where I was off-balance and threw it across the middle. That’s a no-no. I can’t do that.”
But … it didn’t count.
Foles threw two interceptions in his first NFL start, last November against the Redskins. Since then he’s thrown 383 passes with 23 touchdowns and two interceptions.
In his career, he’s thrown five interceptions in 461 attempts, one every 92 passes -- by far the best in NFL history.
“That’s something that I know the Oregon teams that I faced in college, they prided themselves on not turning the ball over, and when [Chip Kelly] came in here, that’s something he really stressed,” Foles said.
“The key to that is preparation and really being in rhythm and on-time with your throws, and if it’s not there, just check it down, and if it’s not there, it’s not bad to just throw it away and live to play another down. That’s something you just have to keep ingraining in you.”
Foles finished Sunday with his fourth straight passer rating of 100 or higher and his sixth this year. He’s the first Eagle QB with four straight passer ratings of at least 100 since Donovan McNabb in 2004.
Foles is the first quarterback in Eagles history with four games in a season with three or more touchdown passes and no INTs. Norm Snead (1967) and McNabb (2004, 2007) had three in a season.
“I think the big thing for Nick is that he’s still getting better and better and making really good decisions,” Kelly said. “Each week he gets better, just because he’s a by-product of the experiences that he’s getting out there in the game, and you’re starting to see him grow.”
Foles is now 5-1 this year, and the Eagles are 7-5 overall with four games to go.
People questioned Foles after the Dallas loss, but since then he’s led the Eagles to four straight wins, and he’s been terrific in all four.
“A quarterback has to be consistent,” Foles said. “Especially in this league. There’s so much talent, these defenses are very good and as an offense, you really want to get the ball in the playmakers’ hands and and be smart with the ball.
“There’s things I need to get better at. That’s why I love this game. There’s always an opportunity to get better.”
-- Reuben Frank, CSNPhilly.com
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