Guess who led the NFL in 'shots downfield' ... Nick Foles

Guess who led the NFL in 'shots downfield' ... Nick Foles
January 28, 2014, 10:34 am

One of the biggest narratives to emerge from Nick Foles first season under Chip Kelly was that, Foles' 27-to-2 regular season touchdown-to-interception ratio was much a function of his unwillingness to take shots downfield, bringing the sustainability of his production under intense fire in advent of Year 2.

Funny thing about that.

Foles this season led the NFL in percentage of pass attempts per dropback that traveled 20 yards or more with 17.4 percent, according to Pro Football Focus. Meaning, Foles took more shots downfield given his opportunities than anybody in the sport.

Before you light up the comment section with talk of “yards after catch,” the statistic considers only throws that traveled 20 yards downfield. So swing passes to LeSean McCoy and jailbreak screens to DeSean Jackson turned upfield aren’t a factor.

Also worth noting, Foles accuracy percentage on downfield shots (which accounts for dropped passes, though Foles had no such passes dropped), 45.5 percent, ranked seventh highest, and better than Rivers, Romo, Brees, Brady and Luck. His 14 touchdowns tied for second, behind only Brees’ 15 and even with Andy Dalton.

There are plenty of reasons to wait before buying all into Foles and his production this season, the chief reason among them being, the Eagles can’t touch his rookie deal until after his third NFL season, 2014. To earn a long-term commitment, he’ll have to prove himself next season – at least.

But suffice it to say, the notion that the guy’s interception numbers are bound to skyrocket once he takes shots downfield is, frankly, utterly false and unfounded.

It’s what he did all last year.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MKH973 Catch him every Saturday from 12-2 on 97.3 ESPN-FM.

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