At this rate, Nick Foles is going to be the first quarterback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame before he’s named a starter. OK, we’re exaggerating. A little. But Chip Kelly continues to decline to name Foles his permanent starter, and Foles continues to put up remarkable numbers.
On Sunday at Lambeau, Foles wasn’t at his best. He underthrew DeSean Jackson on a deep ball, he turned the football over for the first time this year, he was sacked three times, he held onto the ball too long a few times … and when the dust had settled, his numbers, once again, were excellent.
Foles, coming off his NFL-record seven touchdown passes against the Raiders, completed 12 of 18 passes for 228 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions Sunday as the Eagles went into Lambeau Field and left with their fourth straight road win, 27-13, over the Packers.
It was the biggest margin of victory by an opposing team at Lambeau Field in seven years. Foles fashioned a passer rating of 149.3, highest ever by an visiting quarterback against the Packers – either at Lambeau Field or at County Stadium in Milwaukee, where the Packers used to play three times a year.
Foles did not throw an incomplete pass in the second half -- 6 for 6 for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to record a passer rating of 149 or higher in consecutive games and only the 13th to do it twice in a season.
Foles now has 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions this year. Only one quarterback – Peyton Manning this year – has thrown more TDs in a season before his first interception. His passer rating of 132.5 is second-highest in NFL history after 10 games among quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 100 passes. Tom Brady was at 134.0 after 10 games in 2007. In his last two games, Foles has thrown 10 touchdowns and 12 incompletions.
In his last five games, his passer ratings have been 114.9, 133.3, 46.2, 158.3 and 149.3 Safe to say no quarterback in NFL history has ever played like this before being named his team’s permanent starter.
With Michael Vick out indefinitely, nobody expects Chip Kelly to replace Foles. But wouldn’t it be nice if your coach designated you the starter? “I’m not woried about that,” Foles said. “Whatever the situation is, I respect it and I’m going to work hard. I love this team, I love the city of Philly, I love playing for this organization. Whatever they ask me, I’m ready to go do.
“I respect Chip, and whatever the situation is, I’m going to be there to support whoever’s playing.” Foles’ career passer rating of 97.2 is third-highest in NFL history among quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 400 passes.
But Foles is still not impressed. “It’s good, but I need to improve,” he said. “There’s a lot of things I have to continue to improve on. Something I’ll always strive for [is to be] consistent.
“There’ll be adverstiy I’m going to face coming up in any game – like the fumble this game -- and that’s going to happen throughout the game. I’m just trying to get better. Consistency will come when you work to get better at everything.”
Foles threw only 18 times Sunday, but he hit three more long touchdowns, 55 yards to DeSean Jackson and 45 and 32 yards to Riley Cooper.
The only other Eagle QB to hit three TDs of 30 yards or more in a game in the last 40 years was Donovan McNabb against the Lions in 2007 – 43 and 68 yards to Kevin Curtis and 43 yards to Brian Westbrook.
“He’s playing at such a level,” Cooper said. “I’m so proud of him.
“He has great poise. He’s going to sit in the pocket and kind of dissect the defense. He trusts his guys, and if it’s man-to-man coverage, he’s going to throw it up to you.”
The Jackson TD was well underthrown – it was awfully windy at Lambeau Sunday and the Eagles were lucky two Packer defenders were unable to pick it off before it bounced right to Jackson.
It looked like the deep ball to Cooper was underthrown as well, but Foles said he actually put the ball where he wanted and where he knew only Cooper could get it.
“The one to Riley, I could have thrown two different routes, I wanted to throw the deeper one,” Foles said. “I know Riley has a baseball background (drafted by the Phillies), so I was trying to put it up there sort of like when an outfielder is going to catch a fly ball.”
Foles is tough to impress, but he was impressed how the team rallied around him after his fumble deep in Eagles territory early in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles led 27-13 but the Packers had 1st-and-10 on the 13 and a very good chance to make it a one-possession game. But the Eagles held the Packers on downs, then the offense ran out the clock over the next 9½ minutes.
“We were playing a pretty good game and staying away from turnovers and stuff and that happened, and it’s not a good situation,” Foles said.
“But it just shows you how much this team has come along where our defense comes out there and stops them and we get the ball back and our o-line does a great job.
“That’s a good team out there, and we were able to run the ball and take the clock away after our defense had a huge stop. I felt like our team grew throughout that whole thing.”
- Reuben Frank, CSN Philly