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Kelly, Eagles support QB Foles

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PHILADELPHIA -- The last time Nick Foles lined up behind center for the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago in their 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he played the worst game of his career.

He completed just 11 of 29 passes and overthrew one wide-open receiver after another and often held onto the ball too long.

He ultimately left the game with a concussion and was replaced by Matt Barkley.

But once he was cleared to play again this week, coach Chip Kelly said there never was a question who would be starting Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

"Nick got knocked out of the Cowboys game," Kelly said. "I didn't pull him out of the game. I looked over and Nick was laying on the ground. We had to put another guy in."

Foles will start Sunday against the 3-4 Raiders, and Barkley, who completed 61 percent of his passes the last two weeks in relief of Foles and Michael Vick, but also had five turnovers, will back him up. Vick is expected to be out at least a month after reinjuring his hamstring.

"I play quarterback for a reason," Foles said. "I want the ball in my hands. I want to be able to make the decision. I want to be able to deliver (the ball). I didn't do it in that game (against the Cowboys) and that was tough to deal with. Because it was a big game.

"But I feel very confident. The same level of confidence I had after the Tampa game."

That was three weeks ago. He stepped in for an injured Vick late in the second quarter of their Week 5 win over the Giants and completed 16 of 25 passes and threw for two touchdowns. A week later, he started against the Bucs and led the Eagles to a 31-20 win with a 22-for-31, 296-yard, three-touchdown, no-interception performance.

He went into the Cowboys game the next week with a chance to not only put the Eagles in first place in the NFC East, but possibly also wrestle the starting job away from Vick.

And he laid an egg.

"I didn't execute like I needed to," he said. "I was inaccurate on certain throws I'm very accurate on. Just watching film, there are big plays that I missed.

"I saw the mistakes I made. I did not play well. But one game does not define me and it never will. I'm going to continue to work and get better."

Although they are 3-5, the Eagles still are only one game out of first place in the NFC East. But they can't afford to fall any further behind the Dallas Cowboys, who are playing the 1-6 Minnesota Vikings this week.

They need a solid performance from Foles against a very good Raiders defense. Foles hasn't thrown an interception this season in 90 attempts and hasn't thrown one in 127 attempts dating back to last season when he started six games as a rookie and finished fifth in the league in interception percentage.

Before a 2-for-10 third-down meltdown against the Cowboys, he had completed 12 of 14 third-down passes after replacing Vick. In his last four starts last season, he had an 88.7 third-down passer rating.

"We still believe in Nick," wide receiver Jason Avant said. "Like Nick said, one game doesn't define you. Whether you blow it up and throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns or play badly, it's not going to define you."

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