For First Time, Foles Goes Backwards

Nick Foles was asked during his postgame press conference what he felt the biggest difference was between his performance on Thursday night compared to Sunday’s outing against the Bucs.

“We lost,” he said. “That’s it.”

But it isn’t.

We are learning that Foles prefers to talk about the overall good of the team rather than focusing on himself. Meanwhile, the public is focusing on him because, well, they are also interested in the overall good of the team and want to know if he is capable of leading the charge back to sound health.

His play against the Bengals was less than ideal. The rookie went 16-of-33 for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 62.9 quarterback rating. He was also credited with a lost fumble. It is a step back from his stellar game in Tampa, which led Jeremy Maclin to say: “You guys are seeing Nick Foles grow into a phenomenal quarterback right in front of your eyes.”

In the locker room Thursday night, he stood by the young quarterback.

“I think he is maturing as a quarterback each week. I think he shows signs that he can be a good — not good, but great quarterback in this league,” said Maclin. “We’ll continue to roll with him.”

Andy Reid  confirmed as much. Michael Vick has been cleared for a return by an independent neurologist and could be available Sunday against the Redskins, but Reid said, “I’m going to stick with Nick.”

(Sounds like a campaign slogan.)

Foles had a decent enough first half (145 yards, TD, 82.8 rating) and the Eagles took a 13-10 lead into the locker room. Everything went downhill following his interception with about six minutes to play, as his throw down the left sideline to a streaking Maclin came up well short and was intercepted by Leon Hall.

“Just got to spin it,” said Foles. “It started fluttering towards the end and I under-threw Jeremy…It was a bad throw, one that I cannot have. Next time that happens just really throw it out there.”

Added Reid: “He’s got a real strong arm. You can put his arm up against anybody in the league. You just have to make sure that he’s taking time to look people off, and you have to make sure you don’t spend too much time doing that. You have to make sure you get your feet around and that you have enough momentum to get your body and legs into the throw.”

The Bengals capitalized with a touchdown. On the next possession a Foles handoff to Bryce Brown went awry and resulted in seven points the other way. Suddenly 13-10 was 24-13, and Cincinnati was off to the races.

Foles showed improvement in each of his first four starts. The fifth, against a quality Bengals defense and in a short week, was a step back.  Now there are two games remaining in the regular season. There is little time left to evaluate the young signal-caller before major decisions are made.

“I’m going to keep pushing, keep working,” said Foles. “I’m going to learn. I’m going to grind. I want to win these games.”

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