Nick Foles had a tremendous showing in his first start of the season, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another.
Foles began the game by taking the Eagles on an 8-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a touchdown run for the second-year quarterback.
In the second quarter, following a couple of Tampa Bay scores, Foles engineered an 8-play 54-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.
In the second half, Foles did his best to quiet some of the concerns about his arm strength, connecting with Riley Cooper for 47-yard touchdown to take a 21-17 lead, and then DeSean Jackson for a 38-yard touchdown.
Foles looked comfortable and poised throughout the game. His mistakes were minimal, and he never gave the Bucs a chance for a turnover. The former third-round pick did a great job getting a lot of his weapons involved, spreading the ball around to eight different receivers.
You couldn’t ask for a better showing from Nick Foles today. He ran Chip Kelly’s offense very well, almost to perfection. He was up against a quality defense today with a strong pass rush and a solid secondary, and he produced over 300 yards, four touchdowns, and a 133.3 quarterback rating.
Who Starts At Quarterback Next Week?
Let’s now address the top question on everyone’s mind. Who should start at quarterback next week if Michael Vick is ready to go?
There’s certainly a case to be made for both players. After the great showing by Foles today, a lot of people are going to want to go back to him, and understandably so.
Foles played a great game this week. The offense was incredibly efficient, especially in the redzone, where the Eagles have really struggled to produce with Michael Vick. After a game like today’s, how could you not want to see more?
However, you could make the case that the right thing to do is to go back to Michael Vick, if he’s healthy.
It would be one thing if Vick had been playing poorly through the first five weeks, but with the exception of the Kansas City game, he’s played pretty well. He’s kept his turnovers down, and while there are still some things he could improve upon, he hasn’t done anything to lose the job yet.
If Vick comes back and struggles, it would be easier for Kelly to justify pulling the plug on his veteran and going to his young quarterback as opposed to going with Foles, seeing him fall apart, and then being forced to turn back to Vick.
On the other hand however, look at the situation last year when Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith.
Alex Smith didn’t play poorly by any means, but the coaching staff felt that Kaepernick was their future and that it was time to turn the page.
Michael Vick is not the future of this team. He’s played well this year, but at the end of the day…he’s a stopgap. Nick Foles may very well not be the future either. But he’s young, and has shown some upside. I’m not in love with him and his physical skills, but he’s got more of a chance to be this team’s future than Vick.
Its time to find out what you’ve got.
- The Eagles gave Tampa Bay a heavy dose of screen plays throughout the game. They began the game by running one to LeSean McCoy that went for 44 yards. They went back to McCoy and later to Brent Celek in the first half for a couple of screens that also picked up first downs.
- McCoy finished the game with 171 yards from scrimmage, but did have a costly fumble in the first quarter that allowed Tampa Bay to pick up some momentum.
- DeSean Jackson was not shut down by Darrelle Revis, catching six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Its the first time that Jackson has scored multiple receiving touchdowns in a game in his career.
- Riley Cooper finally emerged with Foles at quarterback, catching four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.
- Zach Ertz only caught three passes for 13 yards, but he seemed to be seeing the majority of snaps at tight end over Brent Celek.
- Jason Avant caught for passes for 21 yards. He appeared to be Foles’ safety valve, working mostly underneath routes.
- It was surprising to see the Eagles keep Emil Igwenagu inactive in spite of the fact that James Casey was out.
- For the first time in six games, I’ve been legitimately impressed with Bradley Fletcher. Fletcher made a game-changing play in the beginning of the third quarter, intercepting a pass from Mike Glennon that put a stop to a Tampa Bay drive and set up the Foles-to-Cooper touchdown pass. Fletcher also defended several passes throughout the day.
- DeMeco Ryans led the team with 12 solo tackles.
- Patrick Chung rejoined the secondary after missing two games with a shoulder injury. Chung made a nice play in the first quarter, stopping Doug Martin for a two-yard loss.
- Connor Barwin came up with a sack in the fourth quarter that really sealed the game. Barwin’s sack came on third down and forced the Bucs to punt the ball away down by eight with only a couple of minutes left in the game.
- Defense allowed Mike Glennon to run 16-yards for a first down, keeping the touchdown-scoring drive before the half alive.
- Roc Carmichael got a chance to see his first significant action of the season, and he cost the team with a costly pass interference call in the fourth quarter.
- Earl Wolff broke up pass in endzone for Tim Wright.
- Special Teams allowed Eric Page to have a big punt return to set up the Bucs with good field position.
- Colt Anderson downed a punt at the 2-yard line in the second half.
- For just the second time this year, the Eagles had DeSean Jackson back to return punts.
- Alex Henery hit his only field goal attempt of the game.
I think this was the best that the Eagles have looked all season.
Throughout the game, you had a number of different guys on both sides of the ball step up and make plays. Nick Foles was great today, but it was more than just him. A lot of his skill position support from LeSean McCoy, to DeSean Jackson, to Riley Cooper stepped up and made plays for him.
Defensively, while the Eagles still allowed rookie Mike Glennon to put up 20 points and throw for two touchdowns, they were opportunistic for the second straight week and made some plays in big moments such as the Fletcher interception or the Barwin sack.
At 3-3, the Eagles have picked up two straight road wins. All of their wins have come against the NFC. Two of them have come against division foes. All of their losses have come against AFC teams.
Next week’s game against the Cowboys is a tremendous test for where this team is, and it could be very telling as far as how likely this team is to make the playoffs.