Nick Foles set an Eagles rookie passing record with 381 yards against the Buccaneers as Philadelphia won it’s first game in 70 days.
Eagles fans who grew tired of hearing that the Phillies have won a game more recently than the Birds, can now breathe a sigh of relief.
Just two seconds shy of extending their losing streak to a franchise worst since 1940 nine in a row, Nick Foles found Jeremy Maclin in the back of the end zone for a game winning touchdown snapping the Eagles skid at eight. Foles’ career day and first career come from behind victory resulted in a 23-21 win over the Buccaneers.
“We’re all happy,” Reid said. “We haven’t won a game in stinkin two months. We’re going to enjoy this one and then get ready for Thursday night (against the Bengals).
The Eagles third round draft choice showed the kind of poise expected from a franchise quarterback, particularly on the game winning drive that started on Philadelphia’s 36 with 2:44 remaining and the Eagles fresh out of timeouts.
After finding Jason Avant with two seconds remaining for a completion to the one yard line, Foles lined up and hit a sliding Maclin on the game’s dramatic final play to seal comeback and Philadelphia’s fourth win of the season.
Afterwards, Andy Reid revealed that Foles made the final play call.
“He called it,” Reid said. “He really wanted it on the sideline and then he went out and executed it.”
Foles, finished his fourth start 32-51 for 381 yards, two touchdowns to go with a team best three carries for 27 yards and a score. Foles output was an Eagles rookie record and the Arizona product finished with a 98.1 quarterback rating.
“It’s just very special,” Foles said of his first NFL win. “It’s very humbling and it’s a great win. We had the lead, lost it but we stuck together and were never out of it in our minds.”
One thing to remember when evaluating Foles is that unlike fellow rookies Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson, who all have been entrenched as their team’s starting quarterback since opening day, he only began receiving first team practice reps since November 5th.
It’s fair to say that Foles’ is catching up on the rookie quarterback learning curve. Tampa Bay entered Sunday as the top defense against the run, making Foles’ role in the game even more pivotal.
Meanwhile, defensively the Eagles defensive line looked energized in it’s first game sans former coach Jim Washburn. Newly re-enlisted defensive line coach Tommy Brasher replaced the wide nine technique with a six-four eye front that was more conducive to gang tackling, which Philadelphia has lacked for a majority of the season.
While Tampa Bay rookie running back Doug Martin still ran wild for 128 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, surpassing Cadillac Williams as the all time rookie rushing leader in Buccaneer history, the defense held Josh Freeman below a 122 quarterback rating, as the first time an opponent was held below that benchmark in eight straight.
It wasn’t all positive for the Eagles though, as tight end Brent Celek was lost on the game’s first play and did not return, due to a concussion.
There are now four games remaining on the Eagles schedule, including a quick turnaround when the Cincinnati Bengals come to Lincoln Financial Field for a Thursday night affair. If Sunday showed anything, it is that a once gloomy future now has a shining hope in the form of Nick Foles who continues to improve with each start under his belt.