No Foles Magic This Time: Eagles Lose in Sadder-Than-Usual Fashion

No Foles Magic This Time: Eagles Lose in Sadder-Than-Usual Fashion

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For the second time in three weeks, Nick Foles had a chance
to demonstrate a flare for the dramatic. Only on this occasion, he came up
short – then quite literally threw the game away.

Foles underthrew a wide-open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone
with 23 seconds left, a wobbly duck that sent its empty-handed target sprawling
hopelessly on the turf. The would-be-17-yard connection would have knotted the
score, likely sending the game into overtime. Instead the drive continued,
seemingly setting up the rookie quarterback for another last-second touchdown
pass. Thanks to an untimely penalty though, the clock hit zero while the Eagles
were standing around in the huddle.

Three plays after the near miss, Foles was flagged for
intentional grounding. In addition to the yards and loss of down, the penalty includes
a 10-second run-off in the final two minutes, in this case claiming the final :01
in regulation.

No one-last try here. The Redskins earned the technical
knockout, outlasting the Birds 27-20.

Rewind eight seconds. Foles dropped back from the five-yard
line, scanned the field, and saw nothing he liked. Trying to keep the play
alive, he broke the pocket, only to be chased down by defensive end Stephen
Bowen. Frantically Foles heaved the ball, but it didn’t quite travel the short
distance to the line of scrimmage. With no receiver in sight either, the
officials conferenced, then announced the anti-climatic conclusion.

I’m sure there’s some hidden irony in the moment, something
corresponding to this being Andy Reid’s final home game as head coach.

Tough break for the kid though, who otherwise had himself a
decent afternoon. Foles was 32 of 48 for 345 yards, one touchdown.

However, it wasn’t all good obviously. There was an
interception off of an unfortunate deflection, and a lost fumble during a
scramble. He was under pressure throughout the contest, eating five sacks. The
offense only managed six points once on four trips inside the red zone. There
was the underthrow, a throw that absolutely has to be hit, and the grounding in
a situation where a quarterback absolutely cannot take a sack or suffer similar
consequences.

But growing pains aside, Foles had the team in a position to
win the game. Next time he’s just gotta finish – we’ve seen him do it once
before.

As far as finishing is concerned, Reid walked off the field
to a mix of cheers and boos, with a handful of fans even chanting his name. It
might’ve been nice to see the big guy get a win, but let’s face it, there are
no fairy-tale endings this year.

Notes

No excuses, but it’s worth noting Foles did suffer an
unspecified injury to his throwing hand in the first half. He did not miss any
snaps.

In his first game since suffering a concussion, LeSean McCoy
was his shifty self. Shady carried 13 times for 45 yards, and added nine
receptions for 77 yards.

Dion Lewis had one carry for 13 yards – a fourth-quarter touchdown
run that brought the Birds within seven.

Maclin and Jason Avant each had eight catches, with 18 going
over the century mark for the second time in three games. His 27-yard touchdown
catch was courtesy of a beautiful touch pass from Foles.

The Eagles recorded their first interception since Week 6
when a deflected pass found its way into the arms of Colt Anderson. It was the
first pick of his career.

Robert Griffin was limited with a knee injury, and played
most of the game from the pocket. He was 18 of 24 for 198 and a pair of scores.
Washington leaned on running back Alfred Morris, who carried 21 times for 91
yards, and punched one in on the ground.

A lone sack for the defense this week, none from the front
four. Brandon Boykin notched his first career sack on a blitz.

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Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

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Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

Temple (9-3) at No. 19 Navy (9-2)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Saturday, noon, ABC

It would have been hard to picture Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship game after the Owls’ first game of the season, a 28-13 loss to Army.

But that’s exactly where they are three months later, as Temple will take on No. 19 Navy in the conference championship game Saturday.

The Owls and Midshipmen have both been handling opponents as of late. Temple’s won its last four games by at least three touchdowns, while Navy has outscored opponents 141-62 in its past two games.

Let’s take a look at how one of the country’s top offenses and one of the country’s top defenses match up.

Scouting Temple
The Owls' defense seems to get better every week. Temple ranks No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense. The only two teams that rank higher than the Owls in both categories are Alabama and Michigan.

Teams haven’t scored more than 13 points against the Owls in their last four games, and Temple is outscoring opponents 123-23 during that stretch.

Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Haason Reddick was named a first team all-conference selection earlier this week. He leads the FBS in tackles for loss. Redshirt-senior Praise Martin-Oguike is coming off one of his best games of the season last week against East Carolina, in which he had two sacks, including a forced fumble. He has seven sacks this season.

On offense, Temple’s goal this week will be to sustain drives and keep Navy’s offense off the field. The Owls are currently No. 5 in the FBS in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 34 minutes per game.

Earlier in the week, coach Matt Rhule said senior quarterback Phillip Walker was questionable for Saturday’s game. Walker will likely play, but the Owls might be without one of their top offensive weapons.

Rhule said sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead is doubtful. Armstead has 842 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Scouting Navy
The Midshipmen have one of the simplest — yet at that same time one of the best — offenses in the country. Navy ranks No. 2 in rushing yards at 342 yards per game.

Quarterback Will Worth runs the triple option for Navy. He has 2,544 total yards of offense and 33 total touchdowns. He’s passed for 1,363 yards and rushed for 1,181 more.  Worth has a touchdown in 11 straight games.

Worth has attempted 258 rushes compared to 115 passing attempts. Four other Navy players have at least 40 rushing attempts this season.

Senior wide receiver Jamir Tillman is the Midshipmen’s best receiving threat. The 6-foot-4 wideout has 32 catches for 533 yards and two touchdowns.

Navy’s defense hasn’t been quite as elite as its offense. The Midshipmen have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games.

The Midshipmen are allowing 265 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 313 yards and three touchdowns in their last three contests.

Storyline to watch: Can Temple find a way to stop the triple option?
The last time these two teams played was in 2014, when Navy ran for 487 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win against the Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple’s most recent matchup against the triple option was when it lost to Army in its season opener. The Black Knights ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns. With only a week to prepare, Temple will have to find a way to cure its option woes if it wants a chance to win Saturday.

What’s at stake?
The Owls have only won one other conference championship in program history, when they won the Mid-Atlantic Conference in 1967. A win would also give Temple its third 10-win season in program history. If Western Michigan loses Friday night, Temple also puts itself in contention for a spot in the Cotton Bowl with a win.

Prediction
Temple has to figure out this option thing at some point, right? The Owls’ ability to convert on third down and sustain long drives will help slow Navy's offense. This one will most likely come down to who has the ball last, but the Owls are a little bit more well-rounded, so they get the edge. Temple 31, Navy 28