Foles takes over for injured Vick, shines in win

Foles takes over for injured Vick, shines in win

October 6, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Nick Foles was called on in relief of an injured Mike Vick and led the Eagles to a 36-21 win over the Giants, throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns. (AP)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He put up 20 points in a little over half a game. He threw for 197 yards, despite not playing until the final 90 seconds of the second quarter. He fashioned the highest passer rating by an Eagles quarterback against the Giants on the road since the Giants played in Yankee Stadium.

Enough for Nick Foles to beat the Giants? Easily.

Enough for Foles earn the Ealges’ starting QB job? Chip Kelly says no (see story).

Foles, who won one of six starts in place of an injured Vick last year, replaced Vick late in the second quarter Sunday and led the Eagles to their first win since opening day, 36-21, over the Giants at MetLife Stadium (see Instant Replay).

Foles completed 16 of 25 passes for 197 yards, with fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson.

“Nick did a great job,” center Jason Kelce said. “Nick, since he’s been here, he comes in very confident, he asserts himself in the huddle – when we are huddling – he’s just a guy that goes out there and you don’t really miss too much when he gets in.

“He always has done great when he’s been thrust into that situation, I feel like.”

Foles entered the game soon after Vick pulled a hamstring late in the second quarter. Vick stayed in for one more play, then jogged over to the sideline. Foles then drove the Eagles 75 yards in 11 plays for a field goal to give the Eagles a 19-7 halftime lead.

The Giants scored the first 14 points of the third quarter to go up 21-19 before Foles rallied the Eagles to their second win of the year with 17 points in the game’s final 16 minutes.

Foles, who threw a late touchdown pass in mop-up duty in Denver last week, said he’s learned to prepare during the week assuming he’s going to play.

So when he does, he’s ready.

“You prepare during the week, you put in all the work you can, you know the gameplan, you know what you want to do, you know where you want to attack them, and you do it,” Foles said.

“So you go in with less clutter in your brain, you’re going to play better. It’s really probably common sense. I do everything I can during the week to prepare and then if something like this does happen, I know I’m ready. I’ve done everything I can. Just go out there and let natural ability take over.”

In his first two NFL games last year, Foles had one touchdown pass and three interceptions. In seven games since, he has eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

Foles improved his career accuracy from 60.7 percent to 61.0 percent, passing Kevin Kolb (60.8 percent) to become the most accurate passer in Eagles history (minimum 250 attempts).

Kelly made it clear after the game Sunday that Vick will remain the Eagles’ quarterback and will start in Tampa Bay on Sunday if he’s healthy. And Vick said he hopes to be healthy enough to go.

Foles beat the Buccaneers in Tampa last year, his only career win as a starter.

“When Vick is in there, Foles does a great job of always staying in tune and look at the looks we’re getting,” said DeSean Jackson, who caught seven passes for 132 yards (see story). “Foles just came in and did a good job.

“Last year, he had some opportunities to come in and do the same thing when Vick went down. He’s been in this position before. He knows what to do do, and he knows what to expect. He’s able to go out there and just really make a decision and get the ball out fast.

“He did a great job of coming in and just giving us a chance to win.”

Foles, the Eagles’ third-round pick out of Arizona last year, was 4-for-4 for 69 yards with the two TDs on the Eagles’ final four drives. Both touchdowns followed Giants turnovers.

“Nick looked great, played a great game,” Vick said. “That’s what we expect out of Nick and what Nick expects out of himself.”

Remember, Foles played really well in the preseason and very nearly won the opening-day quarterback job after a preseason competition with Vick.

He’s really had only one bad game in his career, and that was a two-interception disaster in Washington last November in his first NFL start.

“He’s always prepared like he’s going to play, and he made some good throws, especially after the turnovers,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said.

“He took advantage of them and scored points, and then he executed extremely well. I was really proud of how we turned the turnovers into points, which is very, very important, and then we didn’t turn the football over. I thought Michael did a good job, and when Nick came in, he did an outstanding job finishing it up.”