Quarterback controversy? Nick Foles leads Eagles to victory in New York

Quarterback controversy? Nick Foles leads Eagles to victory in New York

When Michael Vick left the game with a hamstring injury and less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Eagles were ahead 16-7, and Nick Foles quickly led the offense on a scoring drive to tack on three. But midway through the third quarter, the New York Giants had retaken the lead, and the Birds’ offense looked stagnant without the threat of Vick running with the football.

Foles never lost his composure though, nor did Chip Kelly deviate from the game plan. The backup quarterback led Philly down the field to retake the lead, then proceeded to pile on with two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter—picture-perfect strikes to Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson in the end zone. Between those tosses and Eli Manning’s unraveling, the Eagles managed to climb out of New York on top with a 36-21 victory.

Now they wait for the result in Dallas to see whether or not they’ll finish the week in first place.

But for now, the story in the City of Brotherly Love is all about the quarterbacks. Vick has struggled to find a rhythm since throwing for a career-high 428 yards on San Diego in Week 2, and that continued to some extent on Sunday. When he exited the game, the four-time Pro Bowler had hit on just 6-of-14 passes for 105 yards.

Foles wound up finishing 16-of-25 for 197 yards and the two scores. So, Chip Kelly, do we have a quarterback controversy here?

As of right now, it would appear we do not. Foles did some nice things, but what doesn’t show up in the passing line are Vick’s seven running plays for 79 yards, which had a lot to do with the first 16 points the Eagles put on the board. That also opens things up for LeSean McCoy, who wound up with only 46 yards on 20 carries.

Otherwise though, it’s hard to argue Foles wasn't throwing a better ball than Vick has the last few weeks. The second-year QB’s 64-percent completion percentage was higher than any single-game total Vick has posted this season. Foles also managed to find Celek and Djacc in the red zone, an area where the four-time Pro Bowler ahead of him has struggled especially.

The important thing here is the Eagles pulled out a victory against a division rival, even if the Giants are winless. Yet the play of Foles under center is an impossible story line to ignore, especially given the fact that Vick only beat him out narrowly for the job during training camp in the first place. It will be interesting to follow this week’s practice reports to see if Vick is limited at all, not to mention monitor how Vick performs in his next outing.

Philadelphia moves to 2-3, and has winless Tampa Bay next week for a chance to get back to .500

>> Instant Replay: Eagles 36, Broncos 21 [CSN]
>> Box Score [ESPN]

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Unlike some other NHL teams coming off their bye week, there wasn't a spot of rust on the sleek Columbus Blue Jackets.

In their first game following a five-day break, the high-energy Blue Jackets blew out the New York Islanders 7-0 Saturday as backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo earned his first career shutout.

Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno each scored twice, and David Savard had a goal and three assists. Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson also scored to help the Blue Jackets end New York's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Zibanejad scores in OT to help Rangers beat Devils again
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Rangers are finding ways to win, and the New Jersey Devils just aren't.

Moments after goaltender Antti Raanta stopped Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway, Mika Zibanejad scored 1:16 into overtime and the Rangers rallied to beat the Devils 4-3 on Saturday.

"I had to redeem myself after that letdown on the breakaway the other way," said Zibanejad, whose mistake gave Palmieri a chance to complete a hat trick. "Rants came up big and it's nice to see that puck cross the goal line once again and win the game."

The goal was Zibanejad's first in 16 games and it gave the Rangers their ninth win in 11 games (9-1-1). Struggling New Jersey got its fourth loss in five games (1-3-1) (see full recap).

Shaw's OT goal gives Canadiens 14th straight win over the Leafs
TORONTO -- Andrew Shaw scored 1:06 into overtime and the Montreal Canadiens beat Toronto 3-2 on Saturday night for their 14th consecutive victory over the Maple Leafs.

Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk had the other goals for the Canadiens, who increased their Atlantic Division lead to four points over Ottawa and five on Toronto. They are 3-7-1 in the last 11 games and 2-2-0 under new coach Claude Julien.

Carey Price stopped 32 shots for Montreal, including a breakaway by Auston Matthews in overtime. The 19-year-old Matthews scored twice to reach 30 goals in his rookie season, and Frederik Andersen was sharp with 25 saves for Toronto (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

DALLAS -- Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks ended a three-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 96-83 on Saturday night.

The Pelicans fell to 0-2 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins and pairing him with Anthony Davis.

Davis had 39 points and 14 rebounds but scored only 12 in the second half. Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Seth Curry scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter to help Dallas pull away. His 3-pointer with 4:49 to play gave the Mavericks an 84-72 lead, and the Pelicans never got closer than six after that (see full recap).

Harden leads Rockets past Timberwolves in 142-130 shootout
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 142-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as both teams set season scoring highs in a Saturday night shootout.

Houston won for the sixth time in seven games, handing the Timberwolves their first road loss in more than three weeks.

Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 38 points for the Rockets.

Playing against Houston's guard-heavy rotation, Minnesota went inside all night and outscored the Rockets 68-44 in the paint. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins added 30 points (see full recap).

Bulls benefit as James sits with strep, beat Cavs 117-99
CLEVELAND -- Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.

James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn't sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star - they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.

Chicago has won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James' absence to win its fourth straight overall (see full recap).

George ejected, Heat stay hot with 113-95 win over Pacers
MIAMI -- Paul George had another frustrating night in Miami.

Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away late to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night. Miami outscored Indiana 42-22 in the final 16 minutes, all with George watching from the Pacers' locker room after an ejection.

"It felt like a playoff-type game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said (see full recap).