Ho hum: Nick Foles solid again, wins again

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Ho hum: Nick Foles solid again, wins again

November 18, 2013, 7:00 am
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Nick Foles completed 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards and rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' 24-16 win over the Redskins. (AP)

Nick Foles is in a slump. Didn’t throw a touchdown pass Sunday. Had just a 104.1 passer rating, his second-worst this year. He even almost had a pass intercepted!

What a bum!

OK, seriously, this wasn’t Foles at his best, but he was sure good enough Sunday.

Foles, the best quarterback in NFL history to never be named a long-term starter, improved to 4-1 this year, completing 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards and also rushing for a career-high 47 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ 24-16 win over the Redskins at the Linc (see Instant Replay).

It was Foles’ third straight win, his first career win at the Linc and his first-ever win over an NFC East team.

Foles has thrown 15 or more passes six times this year and has had a passer rating of 100 or better five times. Only two NFL quarterbacks have had more games this year with a rating of at least 100, and both -- Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson -- have started twice as many games as Foles.

Most impressively, Foles extended his streak of passes without an interception to 199, the second-longest streak in franchise history. Michael Vick had a streak of 224 straight passes without an INT to open the 2010 season. Foles surpassed Donovan McNabb’s longest career streak of attempts without getting picked off, 187 in a row in 2006.

Foles, the stingiest quarterback in NFL history when it comes to throwing interceptions, has thrown 349 passes in his last 13 games. Two have been picked off.

“I think the big thing this offseason that I really wanted to work on was decision making and being smart with the football,” Foles said Sunday. “Because you watch a lot of the guys who are the top guys in this league, Peyton, Drew [Brees], Aaron [Rodgers], some great guys out there, Tom [Brady], that are really good at decision-making.

“They will take shots when they can, but if they have something open short they are going to take it and they are smart with the football, and you don’t want to put the football in harm’s way because if the other team gets an interception or fumble, not only is that their ball but, it’s different than a punt. It’s a momentum change.

“That’s something that I really worked on and didn’t do a great job [of] in the preseason, but I knew that I would continue to work on it. It’s something you have to work on every week. That’s preparation. That’s understanding the defense that you are seeing and knowing where to go with the football.”

Foles could have easily had two touchdown passes Sunday, but a 43-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek in the second quarter turned into a 42-yarder to the 1-yard line on a booth review, and an apparent four-yard TD pass to Cooper was ruled a three-yarder. McCoy scored both times on the next play.

So after throwing 10 touchdowns his last two games, Foles didn’t throw for any Sunday.

But he was still efficient, effective and productive. And he won.

With Vick shelved with a nagging hamstring injury, Foles has completed 64 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns (all on the road) and no interceptions this year. His 128.0 passer rating is highest in the NFL, as are his 9.6 yards per attempt.

He’s also helping out big-time with his legs. Who could have expected that?

After rushing five times for 41 yards last week in Green Bay (not counting kneeldowns), Foles was 8-for-48 Sunday against the Redskins (minus one kneeldown) with a touchdown.

“Nick is a good decision maker,” Chip Kelly said. “If he can get what he can, then get down, not take a big hit, obviously that's what we'll do. He needed to do that to help us out in those situations.”

Foles averaged seven rushing yards per game in his six starts last year and 12.3 rushing yards per game in his first three starts this year.

In the last two, he has 85 rushing yards.

Running is really becoming a weapon for the slowest quarterback at the NFL scouting combine in the last four years.

“I [told] Shady, ‘I don’t know how you run this much because it’s a different game than dropping back.’” Foles said. “You know running, trying to get first downs and stuff, so it’s something I am continuing to get used to.

“I am having fun with running, and I’m starting to get used to it. I have never really been a running quarterback, so it’s fun going out there, start running and getting the feel for it because it is something different.

“I feel like week to week I am getting more and more comfortable with it. It is really helping us get first downs and before long they will really have to account [for] me and it will open up [other things].”