What Dallas game? This was the real Nick Foles

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What Dallas game? This was the real Nick Foles

November 3, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Riley Cooper on Nick Foles after the Eagles' 49-20 win: "I don’t know if anyone could see this coming, but everyone knows what he’s capable of, and we saw it today." (USA Today Images)


Most passing TDs in a game

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
-Nov. 3, 2013 vs. Oakland Raiders
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
-Sept. 5, 2013 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings
-Sept. 28, 1969 vs. Baltimore Colts
Y.A. Tittle, New York Giants
-Oct. 28, 1962 vs. Washington Redskins
George Blanda, Houston Oilers
-Nov. 19, 1961 vs. New York Titans
Adrian Burk, Philadelphia Eagles
-Oct. 17, 1954 vs. Washington Redskins
Sid Luckman, Chicago Bears
-Nov. 14, 1943 vs. New York Giants

OAKLAND -- Inside the Eagles’ locker room, they were just as astounded as everybody else.

“That’s the way you want to come back when you have a tough game,” Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. “Most people want to have a good game. But to have the best game ever out of a bad outing? That’s phenomenal.”

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles tied an NFL record for most touchdown passes in a game with seven in the Eagles’ 49-20 win over the Raiders Sunday at O.co Coliseum (see Instant Replay), and he did it while completing 79 percent of his passes and throwing for 406 yards.

Statistically, it was one of the greatest performances in NFL history (see story).

And it came from a guy who was coming off one of the worst performances in franchise history.

In his last game, in a 17-3 loss two weeks ago against the Cowboys, Foles completed just 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards. He became only the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw 29 or more passes for 80 or fewer yards, and he also suffered a concussion that shelved him for the loss to the Giants last week.

On Sunday, he had more touchdowns (seven) than incompletions (six), becoming the first quarterback in NFL history with more touchdowns than incompletions in a game in which he threw for 400 yards.

Foles was 22 for 28 for 406 yards to go with the seven TDs and no interceptions. Nearly perfect.

“Everybody started acting like his career was over after that Dallas game,” center Jason Kelce said. “They forgot he had played some good football before that. That criticism will probably be halted for at least one game.

“I think Nick is a tremendous quarterback. Nick’s the type of guy who when he plays poor, he refocuses himself and plays that much harder. I noticed it a lot more this week. He always approaches games trying to be as ready as he can. But this one he had a little bit different look in his eye going into the game.

“His mannerisms and everything. He was obviously upset with the way he played in the Dallas game, and this week he was much more vocal, much more involved with everything. ... I just felt like overall he seemed extremely focused on having a really good game this week.”

Foles became the second quarterback in franchise history with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Donovan McNabb achieved passer-rating perfection against the Lions in 2007.

Foles is also the first quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdowns before the end of the third quarter.

In 1954, Eagles quarterback Adrian Burk threw seven touchdowns in a game against the Redskins. Six other quarterbacks have thrown seven touchdowns, most recently Peyton Manning against the Ravens on opening day.

But only Manning, Y.A. Tittle of the Giants in 1962 and Foles have done it without throwing an interception.

“He always has poise and he always has confidence, and that’s what you need in a quarterback,” said Riley Cooper, who caught three touchdowns (see 10 observations). “He handled it great. He’s a winner at heart.

“I have the utmost confidence in Foles. I don’t know if anyone could see this coming, but everyone knows what he’s capable of, and we saw it today.”

Foles said during the week that one game shouldn’t define any athlete in any sport, and then he went out and fashioned a masterpiece.

“This is the real Nick,” said rookie tight end Zach Ertz, who caught his first career touchdown in the second quarter.

“Everybody was saying, ‘Oh my God he had a horrible game last [start],’ but that’s not who he is. I was saying all week, ‘He was the quarterback against the Giants and Bucs,’ and obviously today he played his butt off. So that’s the quarterback we know, Nick, and the game against Dallas was an anomaly.”

How hot was Foles Sunday?

He threw the seven touchdowns within 21 pass attempts and in the span of 31 minutes, 50 seconds.

He didn’t play the last 12½ minutes.

For the sake of comparison, in 2005 Mike McMahon started seven games for the Eagles and threw five touchdowns. In 1999, Doug Pederson started nine games and had seven touchdowns. In 1995, Rodney Peete took the Eagles to the playoffs but had eight TD passes in 12 starts.

“He played unbelievable,” said tight end Brent Celek, who caught Foles’ first touchdown.

“I think the stats speak for themselves. If you play football long enough, you’re going to have some bad games here and there, but he responded and he played great. That’s who he is.

“That’s a great performance. That’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.”

Or that anybody has ever seen.

“It was just exciting to see a quarterback make the kind of plays he made today,” Ryans said. “He was himself all week. Just cool, confident Nick. Just being himself. Making the plays he was supposed to make and leading the offense throughout the week.

“You could tell he was feeling good. His preparation was top-notch all week, and it showed out here.”

Looking at the big picture, the Dallas game really sticks out as the aberration.

Foles has had a passer rating of at least 110 in three of his last four games -- the first Giants game, Tampa and Oakland -- and he completed at least 64 percent of his passes in all three.

“Other than that one game against Dallas that everybody brings up, he’s been a very good quarterback for the Eagles,” Kelce said.

“He was very disappointed with that last game and I just feel like he had something he wanted to prove to nobody but himself.”

Foles has yet to throw an interception this year, and he’s now thrown 13 touchdowns. He’s got 125 consecutive passes without an interception and just two in his last 305 pass attempts going back more than a year.

“He did a great job,” Jason Avant said. “What can you say? He played lights out today, and he worked real hard at it and played a great game.

“I just want him to keep it in perspective. The same people that praise you are going to be the people who are ready to throw you under the bus. He played a great game, he’s the reason our team played well, and if he continues to play like that, we’ll continue to play well.”

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