With 13:28 left in the second quarter, Nick Foles took the snap from under center and faked a handoff to Bryce Brown.
He turned his head around quickly, as the Cowboys blitzed slot cornerback Mike Jenkins and linebacker Ernie Sims. Brown picked up Jenkins, but Sims came unblocked. Foles remained calm and delivered on-target to Brent Celek for a 19-yard gain over the middle just as Sims hit him.
It’s the kind of throw Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg, Howie Roseman and Eagles fans want to see out of the rookie quarterback at this stage in his career.
“I was really proud of the guys,” Foles said after the team’s 38-33 loss. “The guys up front did a great job blocking all night. Our running backs did a great job running. I thought we were pretty efficient in the passing game. I missed a few throws that I’m going to keep working on that I’ve got to hit. It just shows you that you’ve got to be solid all throughout the game.”
It was far from a perfect performance, but with Foles, you want to see signs. Signs of the player he might eventually become. I’m not sure there were many of those in losses to the Redskins and Panthers. But against Dallas, he completed 22 of 34 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown. Foles was sacked just once and spread the ball around to seven different receivers.
In the third quarter, with the game tied, Foles changed the play at the line of scrimmage and let Riley Cooper make a play on a 15-yard touchdown down the right sideline.
“It was just a play that was designed for a certain coverage and they didn’t give me the coverage I wanted,” Foles said. “I saw a matchup with Riley, and I just took it.”
On the flip side, Foles failed to convert a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter. It looked like he had Brown wide open, but Foles looked for Jason Avant in the back of the end zone and threw incomplete.
“I’ve got to make a better throw,” Foles said. “You all saw the throw. I know you all saw it. I’ve got to put it on Jason. Jason did a great job with his route, and it’s my job to put it on him. I missed him. I’m going to hit that throw in practice in a few days and get that thing right.
“That was on me. That was all on me. I made a bad throw.”
Of course, the question now is: What’s next? Reid has maintained throughout that Vick would be the starter when healthy. We’ll find out Monday whether he’s made progress from a concussion sustained in the first meeting against Dallas. If Foles was a complete disaster, you could make the case for going back to Vick. But considering that the rookie’s showing improvement, it would seem to make sense to see more of him.
“The only way to get better is to continue to take reps and play,” Foles said. “My job is to worry about right now and think about the game tonight. Coaches make all the decisions. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles announced early Monday morning that they’ve fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
Under Todd Bowles, the Eagles’ secondary has been a mess, writes McManus.
Despite another fumble, Bryce Brown showed tremendous promise vs. Dallas
Here are my instant observations from the 38-33 loss.
Reid says he takes the eight-game losing streak personally. He’s also tired of answering questions about his job security.
If the 49ers part ways with Alex Smith this offseason, would the Eagles be interested? Tim takes a look.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
LeSean McCoy is still recovering from his concussion, but he was watching the game and Tweeting. After the Bryce Brown fumble:
B.brown still balled out tho he a GOOD PLAYER …
— Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) December 3, 2012
And on the two-point conversion:
B.brown wide open — Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) December 3, 2012
Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com notes the Cowboys’ offensive improvement in the second half:
Romo was fantastic in the second half, completing 10 of 10 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. It was Romo’s best game of the season, better than the Week 1 victory over the Giants. Overall, Romo completed 22 of 27 passes for 303 yards with the three scores. Romo didn’t make a bad throw all night despite getting knocked around in the first half and didn’t encounter much pressure in the final 30 minutes.
We’ll hear from Reid at noon and review some of the players’ performances. Tonight at 6, we’ve got Birds 24/7 Radio on 97.5 The Fanatic. For the Philly readers, we’ll be broadcasting live from 19th and Chestnut. Come stop by if you’re around.