The biggest game of Foles’ young career — a Sunday night showdown in Dallas for the NFC East crown — happened to be versus the same Cowboys team that he struggled badly against two months back. That 11-for-29, 80-yard performance, which ended with a concussion, left the quarterback’s future in Philadelphia uncertain.
What followed was one of the more remarkable stories of the year, with Foles leading the Eagles to wins in six of seven games down the stretch while amassing unbelievable personal stats, some 0f which only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have matched. And now here came the Cowboys again, with the playoffs on the line.
It took less than a quarter for Foles to surpass his numbers from that October 20th game. He ended up 17-of-26 for 263 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 124.4 quarterback rating in the Eagles’ 24-22 division-clinching win.
“I didn’t play a good game [the first time around]. I know everybody wants to stress that but I just didn’t play a good game that day,” said Foles. “It’s exciting to get this win in Dallas and to put that behind me. I put it behind me a long time ago but I think it just shows that our team has grown – I’ve grown as a player – and I’m going to continue to grow. I still have a lot of work to do. I still have a lot of flaws in my game. I still have a lot of things to correct.”
The stats suggest otherwise.
Foles finished the regular season with a quarterback rating of 119.2. That’s not only tops for the 2013 season, but the third-best QB rating for a season in NFL history (Aaron Rodgers – 122.5 in 2011, Manning – 121.1 in 2004). He threw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season. That is the best TD/INT ratio in NFL history.
“He’s so poised. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with him,” said owner Jeffrey Lurie. “Extremely poised, he’s never going to celebrate too much. He’s someone you want to go to war with because he’s always going to be there for everybody. Everything good about football he shares with his teammates. What can you say, 24-years old and doing great.”
Foles did most of his damage in the first half, as 197 of his 263 yards and both TD throws came in the first two quarters. The Dallas defense put heavy pressure on him after intermission. Outside of an 11-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that was carried by the Eagles’ ground game, the offense was kept in check late. Foles lost a fumble at the beginning of the half.
But he, like his teammates, weathered the storm, and were able to survive and advance.
“When you play quarterback – I’ve always believed, since I’ve played this as a kid; that’s why I’ve played this – in times of adversity, they’re going to look to the quarterback to see how he’s reacting,” said Foles, whose 0.63% interception percentage ranks as the third-lowest in NFL history. “There’s going to be adversity in games. We overcame it today as a team and it was an exciting game to win. I had a blast out there. Our defense was coming up big; special teams played really good ball and our offense was able to put some points on the board. In those times of adversity, the game’s not over. There’s still time on the clock. That’s how I’ve always looked at it – I’m going to play until that clock says zero. ”