Foles' historic season ends with division title

Foles' historic season ends with division title

Evaluating Foles' performance vs. the Cowboys

December 30, 2013, 6:00 am
Share This Post

Nick Foles completed 17 of 26 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns, one of which went to LeSean McCoy on this rollout in the second quarter. (USA Today Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It doesn’t matter that he finished his first season as the Eagles’ starter with the NFL’s highest passer rating.

Or that he broke the franchise record for completion percentage.

Or that he exacted revenge against Dallas by beating the Cowboys in their own stadium with an NFC title hanging in the balance.

Shortly after he helped lead the Eagles to a 24-22 over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium that propelled them to the division title and No. 3 seed (see Instant Replay), Nick Foles said the stats, accolades and awards he’s won this year don’t tell the story.

All that matters is the wins, and the Eagles just won for the eighth time in his 10 starts and clinched a playoff berth in his first elimination game.

“I’ve done my job,” he said. “My job is to be the quarterback for this organization. The team is the most important thing.”

Foles was far from spectacular against the Cowboys, who dealt him his worst loss as a pro at the Linc on Oct. 20, but he proved that his nightmarish effort in that first meeting -- 11 for 29 passing (37 percent) for 80 yards, no touchdowns -- was behind him.

It was of the one worst performances ever by an Eagles quarterback and the fewest passing yards by an Eagles quarterback who had thrown at least 29 passes.

It’s ancient history now.

“[I've] definitely grown since then,” he said. “I didn’t play a good game. I know everybody wants to stress that, but I just didn’t play a good game that day. It’s exciting to get this win in Dallas and to put that behind me.

“I put it behind me a long time ago, but I think it just shows that our team has grown, I’ve grown as a player, and I’m going to continue to grow. I still have a lot of work to do. I still have a lot of flaws in my game. I still have a lot of things to correct. That’s why I love this game. There’s going to be something to work on as long as I play this game and I enjoy working at it.”

Foles became the first Eagles quarterback since Tommy Thompson in 1948 and 1949 to lead the NFL in passer rating. His 119.2 season rating is the third-highest in NFL history, behind Aaron Rodgers (122.5 in 2011) and Peyton Manning (121.1 in 2004).

His 124.4 mark against Dallas marked his ninth game this year with a rating over 100, tying Donovan McNabb’s franchise record from 2004. Foles tossed touchdowns to LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek, giving him 27 this year in about 10½ games (see 10 observations).

By tossing 27 touchdowns this season with just two interceptions, Foles posted the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history, becoming the only quarterback to ever toss more than 20 touchdowns with two picks or fewer. The only other quarterback in league history with more than 20 touchdowns and fewer than five interceptions is Tom Brady.

He also set a new franchise record for completion percentage (64.0).

“His poise,” left tackle Jason Peters said, when asked what distinguished Foles from other quarterbacks he’s blocked for. “No matter how bad it gets, he gets back to the huddle and says, ‘Guys, you give me some time, I’ll make a play.’ He’s a great leader and he’s got great poise.”

It wasn’t always pretty. The Cowboys sacked Foles five times, forced him into a fumble and held him to just 67 passing yards after the break.

But he never lost composure.

“That’s the Nick I’m used to, that we’re all accustomed to,” coach Chip Kelly said. “I think every game he grows some. His development and his experience are something we can all gather from today and move forward.”