Game Review: Ups And Downs For Foles

Nick Foles was far from the Eagles’ only problem in their 34-13 loss to the Bengals, but after an impressive performance the previous week against the Bucs, the rookie did not play well.

On their last five possessions, the Eagles had an interception, two fumbles and two three-and-outs. They scored 13 points, and one scoring drive started at the Bengals’ 29, while another began at the Bengals’ 12.

Foles went 16-for-33 for 182 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Two incompletions were dropped, and he threw the ball away twice.

Below is a review of his performance after having re-watched the game. We’ll have the All-22 breakdown during the week.

Let’s start with throws by distance. Short is 5 yards or less. Middle is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25. And Bomb is more than 25.

 
Completions
Attempts
Yards
Short91542
Middle5769
Deep1425
Bomb1446

The Eagles got nothing from the short game. The game-plan was to neutralize the Bengals’ pass-rush with quick throws, but the WR screens and RB screens were largely ineffective. They picked up just 42 yards on 15 pass attempts that traveled 5 yards or less. That’s 2.8 yards per play. Not good.

Foles hit Jeremy Maclin for 46 yards on a deep ball in the second. It was really a well-designed play as the Eagles faked the bubble screen and then went deep. We’ve seen the Eagles’ defense get burned by the same play on multiple occasions this year. But Foles underthrew Maclin, or he might have had a touchdown. Later in the game, Foles looked for Maclin deep but threw an awful ball and was intercepted.

The intermediate game was OK. Foles made a nice throw on the 11-yard touchdown to Riley Cooper.

THE TARGETS

Here’s a look at who he threw the ball to.

 
Completions
Targets
Yards
Jeremy Maclin4873
Jason Avant3444
Clay Harbor3630
Riley Cooper3720
Bryce Brown1211
Stanley Havili118
Dion Lewis11-4
Matt Tennant010

Maclin was the team’s most-targeted receiver. He caught four balls on eight targets for 73 yards. While Foles underthrew him on the deep ball, I thought Maclin had a chance to make the Bengals defensive backs miss after the catch, and he didn’t do so.

Harbor drew a few red-zone targets. On one, he caught the ball at the 1, but couldn’t power through the defensive back for the touchdown. Harbor’s one of the stronger guys on the team, but he seems to rarely pick up  yards after contact. Foles made a couple ill-advised throws into traffic in the red zone, but the Eagles did not help him out. Bryce Brown dropped a shovel pass, Dallas Reynolds was called for an illegal snap, and Matt Tennant dropped the pass in the end zone.

Foles looked to Harbor deep down the left sideline one-on-one vs. the cornerback. I’m with Mike Mayock on that one. Don’t see how that’s a favorable matchup for the Eagles.

THE REST

Foles’ best quality still seems to be avoiding pressure and making throws on the move. He did just that in the first, finding Jason Avant for 25 yards. Foles later made a nice throw to Avant for 16 yards on 3rd-and-9. And the throw to Harbor for 16 yards before he fumbled was a good one.

Overall, it was an up-and-down performance, which is not all that surprising, considering he was making his fifth career start. The offensive line actually performed better than I expected in pass protection. I didn’t think Foles was under too much pressure, and he had plenty of clean pockets. Not having LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson or Brent Celek definitely hurt. And the Eagles were unable to get the run game going for the second week in a row.

Foles will get two more chances against the Redskins and Giants. Then the Eagles will have to come up with an offseason plan for the quarterback position.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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