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Nick Foles became the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw 29 or more passes in a game and throw for 80 or fewer yards against the Cowboys. (USA Today Images)
He still has no real answers.
Nine days after one of the most anemic games any Eagle quarterback has ever recorded, nine days after he suffered a concussion on a scramble that never should have even occurred, nine days after he got knocked out of one game and shelved for another, Nick Foles still doesn’t know why he was so bad.
“I didn’t execute like I needed to,” Foles said. “I was inaccurate on certain throws that I’m usually very accurate on. … I just didn’t play well.”
Foles met with the media Tuesday for the first time since his ghastly 11-for-29, 80-yard performance against the Cowboys.
Foles, cleared Monday through the NFL’s concussion recovery protocol, returned to practice Tuesday.
Although head coach Chip Kelly didn’t meet the media Monday and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur wouldn’t discuss who the starter will be (see story), everything points to Foles starting against the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday if he doesn’t suffer any setbacks.
Foles and rookie Matt Barkley, who has finished the last two games in place of injured Foles and Michael Vick, split first-team reps 50-50 on Tuesday, Shurmur said.
Vick was quickly yanked from the game Sunday after his hamstring injury worsened, and Kelly said Monday he doesn’t anticipate having Vick on Sunday.
As for Foles, he said he’s ready to move on from the worst performance of his life.
“One game has never defined me and it never will,” he said. “I’m going to continue to work and get better, and that’s what today was for.”
Foles, who was coming off two NFL Player of the Week awards for his performance against the Buccaneers a week earlier, became only the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw 29 or more passes in a game and throw for 80 or fewer yards.
His 2.76 yards per pass attempt was lowest by an Eagles quarterback since Bobby Hoying averaged 2.61 yards per attempt in a 38-0 loss to the Seahawks in 1998.
Trust us on this … you don’t want to be compared statistically to Bobby Hoying.
“I’ve got to be very accurate with the ball, and I wasn’t, and that’s on me, and that’s something that I’m going to get out here and I’m going to work on it,” Foles said.
The Eagles and Cowboys both went into that game 3-3, so a win would have propelled the Eagles into first place in the NFC East.
It was clearly the biggest start of Foles’ two-year career, and he was asked Tuesday if he thought the moment had gotten to him, if the pressure had gotten to him.
“No, I don’t,” he said. “I want the ball in my hands. I want to be able to make the decisions. I want to be able to deliver it, and I didn’t do that in that game and it was tough to deal with.
“I just didn’t play well. It was a big game playing in the Linc, always playing in front of our fans, so it was tough. But I’m also motivated to get better.
“I’ve got to keep pushing. I can’t let that game get me down. It was tough, but I’m going to use it was motivation: ‘Hey, this is what I need to work on,’ I’m going to work on it and get better.”
Foles said he felt symptoms for several days after his concussion, but said he’s 100 percent now.
To pass through the league’s concussion protocol, a player must pass the ImPACT test that measures brain function, must pass through five stages of increasingly arduous physical activity without experiencing symptoms and must be cleared by an independent league-approved neurologist.
Foles said he suffered one previous concussion, his freshman year at Arizona.
The Eagles haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in their last two games.
“I definitely believe in Nick,” receiver Jason Avant said. “One game doesn’t define him. Whether you blow it up and it’s 400 yards and five touchdowns, that’s not going to define you.
“It’s what you do over a consistent period of time that you begin to learn a person’s character and learn the type of player they are, then you can make an educated assessment of a player rather than just taking one game and saying, ‘Oh, I knew it.’
“So we believe in him. We’ve been here every day with him, we’ve been in training camp, we’ve seen him last year, and he has the tools to be a really good player, and he’s refining those and doing everything he can to put himself in position to be the best player he can be and hopefully the best player on Sunday.”
Foles said the last nine days have been tough for him, as he’s battled both a head injury and the disappointment of being on the short end of a 17-3 score in his home stadium against the Eagles’ most bitter rival.
“You do feel emotions, you’re human,” he said. “You play bad, it creeps in that you let everybody down. But then you’ve got to get back to it, and you’re like, ‘Hey, I can’t mope, I can’t do this, you’ve got to study the film and man up and get after it.’
“There’s a lot of great learning experiences in that film. A lot of them were tough to watch, but I’ve got to make sure I let them into my heart, take ownership and get out here and work on those things I did not do well.”