Up-And-Down Debut For Nick Foles

 Nick Foles showed promise, and he showed poor decision-making. He demonstrated some decent pocket awareness and field vision in one moment, then was shaky in the next.

He looked, well, like a rookie quarterback making his debut.

The final line:  22-of-32  for 220 yards with a touchdown and an interception, good for a 85.4 quarterback rating. He also lost a fumble that resulted in a Dallas touchdown at the end of the game.

Foles was asked how he thought he did.

“Not good enough to win. I made some mistakes,” said Foles. “I can’t turn the ball over. That’s the most important thing to win games and I turned it over twice. It ended up being touchdowns. I can’t do that. But it’s a learning experience. I’m going to learn from it, get better and get back to work.”

The 6-5 Arizona product entered to cheers midway through the second quarter after Michael Vick exited with a concussion. The game was knotted at 7-7.

Foles had an odd first series. His first career pass, a quick hitter to LeSean McCoy, was actually ruled a run because the ball traveled behind the line of scrimmage. He followed that with a spot-on dart to Jason Avant, but the veteran receiver injured his hamstring on the play as the ball ricocheted right off his helmet, forcing the Eagles to punt.

The Eagles were conservative with the rookie signal-caller for the rest of the half, and he finished 3-for-5 for 18 yards.

“For not having practiced at all with the first group there I thought he came in and did some good things,” said Andy Reid. “There are some plays he would like to have back but he kept battling. He kept his eyes downfield — there were some positives there. We just can’t have the turnovers.”

His first big moment came two minutes into the third quarter as he found a wide-open Jeremy Maclin for a 44-yard touchdown. Foles bought a little extra time by moving up and to his right in the pocket. With his eyes downfield he spotted Maclin, who was all alone in the middle of the end zone.

In the process, Foles became the first Eagles rookie quarterback to throw a TD pass since A.J. Feeley in 2001.

A forgettable series by King Dunlap on the Eagles’ next possession forced the team to settle for a Alex Henery field goal. After wiping out Maclin on a wide receiver screen, Dunlap was flagged for illegal hands to the face, negating a nice Foles’ throw to Damaris Johnson deep in Dallas territory that would have set up a first-and-goal.

Dallas was able to tie it at 17-17 moments later courtesy of a 30-yard touchdown from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant. The refs, after review, upheld the call despite replays that appeared to show the ball grazing the turf.

Foles avoided disaster when his pick-six to Anthony Spencer was called off because of a defensive holding penalty on Dallas. Jay Ratliff forced the errant throw with pressure up the gut.

Disaster struck anyway thanks to a 78-yard punt return by Dwayne Harris with 13:52 remaining in the game, giving the Cowboys a 24-17 lead. The next Cowboys’ interception return for a touchdown held up. DeSean Jackson bobbled a throw that was thrown behind him. Brandon Carr scooped it up and ran 47 yards with 12:37 left to make it a 14-point advantage.

“I’ve got to give him a better ball, it’s as simple as that,” said Foles. “I have to give DeSean the ball right in front, right on him, so he can catch it and get up field. I have to be more accurate.”

There was no storybook ending in store for the kid. Foles did take the offense down the field on a 10-play, 77 yard drive and the Eagles cut the deficit to eight with a short touchdown run by Stanley Havili with 1:55 left. Henery missed the extra point, amazingly enough, and the onsides kick did not work.

Foles was clocked in the final seconds and coughed up the ball. Jason Hatcher recovered it for a touchdown, icing the game.

“I didn’t get the job done tonight,” said Foles. “I have a 24-hour rule with dealing with games and looking at film and the emotions of it. It’s an emotional game, you want to win every game and fight every game. It’s back to work.”

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