Wake-Up Call: Foles’ Year In Perspective

USATSI_7642690_168380503_lowres

The Westlake boys met near midfield once the game was in the books. Drew Brees, the elder by 10 years, had just secured the sixth postseason win of his career and was moving on in search of his second Lombardi Trophy. Nick Foles was heading home. That was the reality of the situation.

But that wasn’t the whole story. Foles had just completed a season in which he finished with the third-highest quarterback rating (119.2) in NFL history. He established a record for best touchdown/interception ratio (0.63%) all while leading  the league in yards/pass attempt. He thrived in a system that wasn’t supposed to suit him and helped the Eagles capture a division title.


Foles had two interceptions on the entire season while tossing 29 touchdown passes. Brees had two picks in the first half alone Saturday night.

"I just let him know what a great season he had. What he accomplished this year as a first-year starter is nothing short of phenomenal," said Brees, who lost his first playoff appearance to the Jets, 20-17, back in 2004. "I'm a big fan of his. I love the way he plays. The offense is great for him. We're going to be seeing a lot more of him."

Foles finished 23-of-33 for 195 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105 quarterback rating. It wasn't his cleanest outing of the year. He was a little off to start the game, was whistled for an untimely intentional grounding and took a bad sack at the end of the first quarter that helped thwart a promising drive.

"I don't  think so," said Pat Shurmur when asked if it took Foles a little time to settle into his first playoff game . "I think he was seeing the field well and I thought he executed well. I wouldn't read into that first playoff game thing. I think everybody was out there competing, it just took us a little while to get it going and score the points...Nick was seeing things well. When we were talking on the sideline with him he was able to tell us what was going on."

Foles, as Jeffrey Lurie mentioned afterwards, helped bring the Eagles back from a 20-7 deficit. His last pass of the 2013-'14 campaign was a three-yard touchdown toss to Zach Ertz to put his team up, 24-23.

"How can you not be impressed with Nick, with everything he accomplished, including tonight?" said Lurie. "He had no turnovers and led us back from 20-7. He is incredibly impressive.”

When the emotions tied to a playoff loss eventually recede, optimism about the state of the franchise will remain. A lot of that optimism will be because of Foles, who is only 17 starts into his professional career.

"I think it's important that they get some time away now. It's been a long year," said Shurmur. "And then when he gets back we'll just keep going on the fundamentals just like you do every year. The good news is now when he's watching the tape, he'll be watching the stuff that he was doing, and I think that'll help him get even better with the details of what we're trying to do."

WHAT YOU MISSED

A closer look at one of the drives that really cost the Eagles.

Lurie says that the success in year one under Kelly is just the tip of the iceberg.

Billy Davis says any failings in defending the run fall on him. Sheil with more in the Zone Read.

Colt Anderson takes the fall for the killer New Orleans kickoff return late in the game.

"Mental busts" prevent the Eagles from advancing.

Kapadia offers his observations from the Eagles' 26-24 loss.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Oregon's all-purpose standout De'Anthony Thomas will skip his senior year and enter the NFL draft. From GoDucks.com.

Thomas leaves Oregon in the conversation as the best all-purpose player in school history. His 5,345 career yards trail only all-time greats LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, with whom Thomas teamed in the Ducks' most recent Pac-12 championship season of 2011. Thomas holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1), and he's fourth in career scoring (278 points)...

Thomas will be the second underclassman from Oregon to enter this year’s draft, joining cornerback Terrance Mitchell. The Ducks still await a decision from cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, with the deadline to declare Jan. 15.

Mark Eckel casts his Coach of the Year vote for Chip Kelly.

Kelly changed everything about the 2013 Eagles from the way they ate, to the days they practiced to the schemes on both offense and defense, and all of a sudden, 4-12 became 10-6, and the Eagles are not only in the playoffs, they are division champs.

In a good year for coaches, where Reid took Kansas City from 2-14 to the playoffs, where Ron Rivera believed to be fighting for his job in Carolina, went 12-4 and where the league’s best coach, Bill Belichick just kept winning in New England as player after player landed on the injury list.

Any one of those four would be a good choice for the Coach of the Year, but the vote here — as did 18 years ago — goes to the Eagles head coach.

COMING UP

Players will be available to reporters from 10-noon as they clean out their lockers. Kelly speaks at 12:45.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • nestazhe265

    my
    Aunty Grace got a nearly new blue Kia by working part time from the internet.
    look at this now B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • evanphilly

    Now he gets to go into the off-season knowing that he is the #1 QB of this team. He gets the reps in the off-season as well as the pre-season games. Can’t wait to see what he does in Year 2!

    • GEAGLE

      He becomes KING of philly, that’s what happens

    • macadood

      I’m intrigued if the eagles might consider trading foles away for some picks and/or one of our biggest needs positions, a big name WR, Safety, or Pass rusher for example. and then pick up a more mobile QB in the draft and rebuild from there.

      I agree it may be stupid to do at this point and love what I’ve seen from Foles so far, but you can’t deny the advantages of a Russel Wilson-like qb running the offense with Chip Kelly. Plus foles has put up a few sub-par games as of late, sure he’s not turning it over but he’s also not dominating games anymore.

      • Broadcasting Wisdom

        What is wrong with Eagles fans? In what other city could this possibly happen? 29 TDs, 2 Interceptions, highest QB rating of all time, in his first season starting. Russell Wilson just went 11-27 with a pick putting up 10 points against an Arizona defense that Foles tore apart – and he’s the absolute best of the “running” QB lot. Kaepernick threw a pick and would have thrown the game away had that packers DB caught that pass right in his hands on the last drive – and the Packers D had 4 defensive starters out.

        Foles is already the best QB in the NFC East. Please, get this concept of a running QB who could possibly do what Foles did out of your head.

      • Brandon

        Russell Wilson is a fine QB but it’s not like he’s blowing the league away. The main reason he has such a good record is the fact that he plays on a team with the best defense in the league. For my money I’m taking Folesy over him all day.

  • Andy124

    Great season!

    Been off-grid all weekend. Hope nobody went off the deep end. :-)

    This off-season is going to be a lot longer than last one. No coaching search. No quarterback controversy. Just a whole lot of waiting for FA, the draft and, finally, next season. Probably going to feel like forever.

    • hillbillybirdsfan

      Even more so since the draft isn’t until May 8-10 this year!

    • mtn_green

      So glad there is no coach search. Reading articles based upon Sal Pal’s ‘someone close to the situation thinks that there might be a coach’ drove everyone nuts last year.

      Now we have a coach and a QB to speculate about.

  • Token

    This year was some good experience for Foles. Got a playoff game, maybe two if you count Dallas, under his belt. Lead his team down for the win in the playoffs. But knows that sting of playoff defeat. You could tell postgame he cares.

    They know who they are buidling around know. Chip has the offseason knowing what type of QB he has. I think thats important. I want to see Foles improve on his flaws. I want to see him continue to get more decisive and confident in the system and his reads.

  • mtn_green

    Sad, excited…Foles is future, McCoy,, DJ, 2012-2013 draft players. Fun.

    • jabostick

      I agree. it was a weird game to watch because, for the last two minutes, you essentially knew that the Saints would win; kind of anti-climactic given that it was a last second FG to win it.

      Also, while I believe that projected trajectories don’t tend to work out in the NFL (i.e. Team X looks promising and will be great 3 years from now) so it felt like a real missed opportunity, the season was great, I love Chip, and I’ve been a Howie defender all the while.

      Excited for the off-season and next year, though, I’ve already seen several articles/comments/mentions that maybe Foles isn’t the right guy for the team. I ‘get’ the argument (dont agree with it) but what more can the guy do?

      • UncleCarm

        Agree on what more can he do. I will leave it to the statisticians, but I’m pretty sure that Mcnabb never had a 105 passer rating in a playoff game (at least not one that he lost). This was a team loss across all three phases and cannot be blamed on Foles. He did not have a perfect game, but he played well enough to win if the def and ST had made a play or two. We were winning when Foles left the field.

  • Kev_H

    I didn’t see a QB who played better this weekend from whistle to gun. No one was close.

  • ia

    What I noticed this weekend is that the QB’s that threw more then 1 INT won their games. So it’s about battling it out even if you have a horrible 1st half like Luck.
    Look at Brees’s QB rating. But he won.
    Good thing about Foles that I know from his AZ time is that he always got better every year because he works harder then anybody. He loves the game more then the money.

  • Broadcasting Wisdom

    Other than the terrible sack he took in the first half, what other play did Foles do something wrong? Can we quit it with blaming him on the intentional grounding penalty? Unblocked rusher in his face in less than 2 seconds and nobody but Zach Ertz on right side of the field (who did an in-breaking route right when he threw it, thus making it look much more like grounding than it did when he first wound up to throw – I know because it was coming right at my seats). If he doesn’t throw it away, he takes a sack, so it’s the same result.

    If you’re not on the Foles-as-longterm-starter bandwagon, you know nothing about football, and rather just like to complain for absolutely no reason. Of the other 7 QBs who played this weekend, you could not get me to trade him for any of them. Rodgers was pedestrian. Kaep was way worse (except he can run, so degenerates think he’s a good QB). Andrew Luck threw 3 picks. Don’t get me started on Andy Dalton. Phillip Rivers threw like 10 passes, but I admit he was accurate when he threw them. Drew Brees threw 2 picks and did not make more than 2 throws that were borderline impressive – unfortunately Foles doesn’t get to play against Patrick Chung or he could make long throws look easier.

    We found a huge nugget of gold in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. There are maybe 5 QBs on the planet with a greater potential than Foles over the next 5-7 years, and their teams are not letting them go. So everyone just support him and stop being ignorant. Thank you.

  • Griffy Pants

    Tim, great perspective on Foles’ season, however, 0.63% is his ratio of interceptions (2) to pass attempts (317). 13.50% is his NFL single-season record setting ratio for touchdowns (27) to interceptions (2). Keep up the great work.