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Foles leads Eagles to another win

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Philadelphia Eagles, with quarterback Nick Foles, are a team on the rise.

The Green Bay Packers, without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, are a team in danger of sinking out of the NFC playoff race.

The Eagles did not have the ball for long, but they had it long enough to connect for three big plays to defeat the Packers 27-13 on Sunday.

Foles threw two long touchdown passes to wide receiver Riley Cooper and another to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and running back LeSean McCoy had 155 of the Eagles' 204 rushing yards. Philadelphia has won two in a row to improve to 5-5, including a stunning 5-1 on the road.

"It feels good to get the win," Foles said. "It was another great team win. We just have to keep moving but I felt good out there, felt like the guys were doing a great job. Receivers were making some good plays and helping me out. It was a good win."

Foles' big plays were enough against the Packers (5-4), who were at a rare quarterbacking disadvantage and lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2008.

From 1992 through the first eight games of 2013, the Packers used only Brett Favre, Rodgers and Matt Flynn as starting quarterbacks. With Rodgers out with a broken collarbone, 33-year-old Seneca Wallace made his first start since Jan. 1, 2012. Wallace, however, lasted just one series after injuring his groin and was replaced by Scott Tolzien, who was called up from the practice squad on Wednesday.

Tolzien completed 24 of 39 passes for 280 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in his first career regular-season action. He will start next week against the New York Giants, giving the Packers their third starter in as many weeks after a run of almost unparalleled quarterback stability. Only two starts by Flynn interrupted the 22 years of Favre and Rodgers.

"We're running plays he hasn't even practiced yet," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said of Tolzien, an undrafted free agent in 2011 out of Wisconsin who was released by the San Francisco 49ers after their final cuts this summer.

The Eagles took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Foles hit Jackson for a 55-yard touchdown. Cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Morgan Burnett went for the pass breakup, with Williams getting his hands on the ball. Williams and Burnett collided, and the ball fluttered right to Jackson, who walked backward the final 5 yards.

"It was a great throw that Nick put out there in seeing the coverage and I just had to focus on that," Jackson said. "It got tipped by the defender. I feel like I do a great job of focusing on the ball every time a defender tips it. You just have to stay with the play."

Philadelphia held a 10-3 lead at halftime when Foles struck again to open the third quarter. This time it was into double coverage to Cooper, who made a diving catch and rolled the final yard into the end zone. Cooper got a step on cornerback Davon House and safety M.D. Jennings never saw the ball and had his back turned when Cooper made the catch.

"Really, I felt the game came down to probably a half a dozen critical plays," McCarthy said. "I think we might have made one of them. They made them, we did not. Congratulations to the Eagles. But I'm disappointed, and I'm disappointed as the head coach of this team because we have a reoccurring issue that I have to get fixed, and we'll get on that tomorrow, and I'm not going to get into that right now. We had a lot of tough situations today, no excuses."

The Eagles tacked on a field goal to make it 20-3 after safety Nate Allen deflected a pass to wide receiver James Jones and linebacker DeMeco Ryans made a diving interception.

The Packers pulled within 20-10 when Tolzien hit tight end Brandon Bostick with a 26-yard strike. But Green Bay's defense could not get a stop. Foles ran for 16 on third-and-6, then hit Cooper for 32 yards for an easy touchdown against a blown coverage with 10 seconds to go in the third quarter. That made it 27-10, despite the Packers' 2-to-1 edge in time of possession.

Trailing 27-13, Green Bay had a chance to get back in the game early in the fourth quarter. Foles was sacked by defensive lineman Mike Daniels and Williams, with Williams stripping the ball and running it in for a touchdown. The play was ruled merely a sack, with McCarthy winning half the challenge -- getting the turnover but not the score. On fourth-and-4 from the 7, Tolzien threw to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who tried to make a diving catch in the end zone. The play was ruled incomplete, with referee Mike Carey confirming the ruling on another McCarthy challenge.

The Packers had ample opportunities in the first half. After the opening touchdown to Jackson, kicker Mason Crosby hit the right upright from 53 yards. Tolzien led the Packers to the Eagles' 5 but underthrew an open Nelson and was intercepted by cornerback Brandon Boykin. After Eagles kicker Alex Henery missed from 39 yards, Crosby missed from 42.

"Bottom line is we've got to just keep getting better. I think it's pretty simple," Tolzien said. "You start by looking at yourself in the mirror. You always do that. Certainly, there's a few plays you'd like to have back in the game. But I really appreciate the guys' help out there, rallying around me. And my coaches as well this week helped me prepare to be ready to go. I really appreciate these guys in this locker room. We've just got to keep getting better, bottom line."

After the second of Crosby's misses, the Eagles used a 25-yard completion to Cooper on third-and-9 and a roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Clay Matthews to get a 25-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0.

The Packers got on the board just before halftime, keyed by Tolzien hitting Bostick for 20 yards and Nelson for 30. On third-and-goal from the 8, Tolzien hit Jones in the end zone but cornerback Cary Williams shoved Jones out of bounds before he could get his second foot inbounds. The Packers settled for a field goal, giving them three points in the half despite 268 yards of offense and 21 minutes of possession time.

Notes: Eagles QB Nick Foles has thrown 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last six games and has 16 TDs and no picks this season. ... Injuries were a major story for both teams. The Eagles lost three starters, ILB Mychal Kendricks (knee), LT Jason Peters (quad) and S Earl Wolff (knee), during the first quarter. Peters returned briefly from a head injury but injured his quad upon returning. ... Along with QB Seneca Wallace, the Packers lost C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) in the second quarter and OLB Nick Perry (foot) and RT Don Barclay (knee) in the fourth. ... The Packers were without three prime offensive playmakers in QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Randall Cobb (broken fibula; injured reserve-designated to return) and TE Jermichael Finley (neck; injured reserve). Other than at quarterback, the Eagles had not lost a single game from a Week 1 starter. ... Among the Eagles' inactives were QB Michael Vick (hamstring) and starting CB Bradley Fletcher (pectoral). ... Green Bay had gone 23-1 in its last 24 homes but have lost back-to-back to the Chicago Bears and Eagles. The Packers had not lost consecutive home games since 2008.
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