When Michael Vick left the game with a hamstring injury and less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Eagles were ahead 16-7, and Nick Foles quickly led the offense on a scoring drive to tack on three. But midway through the third quarter, the New York Giants had retaken the lead, and the Birds’ offense looked stagnant without the threat of Vick running with the football.
Foles never lost his composure though, nor did Chip Kelly deviate from the game plan. The backup quarterback led Philly down the field to retake the lead, then proceeded to pile on with two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter—picture-perfect strikes to Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson in the end zone. Between those tosses and Eli Manning’s unraveling, the Eagles managed to climb out of New York on top with a 36-21 victory.
Now they wait for the result in Dallas to see whether or not they’ll finish the week in first place.
But for now, the story in the City of Brotherly Love is all about the quarterbacks. Vick has struggled to find a rhythm since throwing for a career-high 428 yards on San Diego in Week 2, and that continued to some extent on Sunday. When he exited the game, the four-time Pro Bowler had hit on just 6-of-14 passes for 105 yards.
Foles wound up finishing 16-of-25 for 197 yards and the two scores. So, Chip Kelly, do we have a quarterback controversy here?
Chip: If Vick is healthy next week, he's the starter.
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) October 6, 2013
As of right now, it would appear we do not. Foles did some nice things, but what doesn’t show up in the passing line are Vick’s seven running plays for 79 yards, which had a lot to do with the first 16 points the Eagles put on the board. That also opens things up for LeSean McCoy, who wound up with only 46 yards on 20 carries.
Otherwise though, it’s hard to argue Foles wasn't throwing a better ball than Vick has the last few weeks. The second-year QB’s 64-percent completion percentage was higher than any single-game total Vick has posted this season. Foles also managed to find Celek and Djacc in the red zone, an area where the four-time Pro Bowler ahead of him has struggled especially.
The important thing here is the Eagles pulled out a victory against a division rival, even if the Giants are winless. Yet the play of Foles under center is an impossible story line to ignore, especially given the fact that Vick only beat him out narrowly for the job during training camp in the first place. It will be interesting to follow this week’s practice reports to see if Vick is limited at all, not to mention monitor how Vick performs in his next outing.
Philadelphia moves to 2-3, and has winless Tampa Bay next week for a chance to get back to .500