All-22: What We Saw From Nick Foles
Here’s a breakdown of what we saw from Nick Foles in the Eagles’ 23-21 win over the Bucs on Sunday, using the All-22 tape.
Play 1: The Bucs threw a lot of blitzes at Foles, and he handled them well. In the first quarter, you see the pre-snap look. Both linebackers are going to blitz the A-Gap between Evan Mathis and Dallas Reynolds.
Bryce Brown picks up the first blitzer, but the second one comes unblocked, meaning it’s on Foles to get rid of the ball quickly.
And he does just that. Foles hits Riley Cooper for a 10-yard gain and a first down.
Play 2: The Eagles missed a shot at a huge play in the first. The Bucs set up in Tampa 2 with two safeties deep and the middle linebacker dropping. Marvin McNutt runs a go-route down the right sideline.
The key is the safety to that side of the field inching up towards Jeremy Maclin.
One thing I like here is how early Foles throws the ball. You’ll notice McNutt is at the Bucs’ 47 when he releases it. The reason? See below.
Daniel Te’o-Nesheim got past Clay Harbor from his spot at right defensive end. If Foles waits any longer, it’s a sack. As it is, he gets hit anyway, which likely affected the throw.
Here, you can see he had McNutt for what could have been a 59-yard touchdown. If that’s DeSean Jackson and not McNutt, maybe it’s six.
Play 3: The Eagles may want to add the “Fake screen/QB scramble” to the playbook. On Foles’ 10-yard touchdown run, they were trying to set up a screen to Dion Lewis and the Bucs were blitzing from his front side.
If the blitzers continue towards Foles and don’t read screen, it might be a sack.
Something I didn’t notice when watching live was how far Foles had to go. Look at the shot below. He’s at the 24-yard-line when he finally decides to take off. The entire Bucs’ D is reading screen.
From the end-zone angle, you can see nobody’s in the picture.
And Jeremy Maclin does a good job turning into a blocker, allowing Foles to score.
Play 4: A subtle thing I noticed on a deep ball in the second. Foles has had an issue of staring down receivers. On this play, the key to getting the ball to Cooper is looking off the safety.
I couldn’t find a great angle of it, but in the image below, you get the idea. The safety is cut off in the bottom, right corner of the screen. Foles gets him moving towards the middle of the field.
Foles slightly overthrows Cooper, who doesn’t get much separation from the cornerback, but as you can see, the safety is not in position to break up the pass, had it been on-target.
Play 5: Overall, Foles did a tremendous job of keeping his eyes downfield when he was on the move. But he missed one in the third. Foles took off to run and was sacked at the line of scrimmage. He had Harbor wide-open near midfield, but missed him.
Play 6: The Eagles have had success with WR screens. And the play that started the comeback was a 24-yard screen to Maclin.
Check out the blocking by Evan Mathis, King Dunlap and Harbor, creating space for Maclin to get to the sideline.
Play 7: Foles really did a nice job on the fourth-quarter touchdown to Harbor. Initially, it looked like he was looking for Cooper near the left sideline.
Since that wasn’t there, he scrambled to his right. You can see in the photo below that the throw to Harbor is not an easy one. But Foles put the ball on the money.
You can also see Maclin with his hands up. That might have been an easier throw. But the bottom line is Foles made it work.
Play 8: On the final drive, TV showed Maclin wide-open when Foles overthrew Cooper. But if you look at when Foles released the ball, you can see why he made the throw he did.
Cooper has a step on the corner. Maclin does not. The Bucs sent a six-man rush, and Foles got rid of the ball quickly. He had a shot to connect for a big play, but overthrew Cooper.
Play 9: Two things on the near-interception on the final drive. When I watched live, I thought it was just a terrible decision. But you can see with the first photo that Foles probably has a chance to complete the pass if it is on-target.
Instead, it is behind McNutt and nearly picked. Can you imagine how different the conversation would be in this city if that ball had been intercepted?
The second note is that Foles had Avant headed toward the sideline for what would have been a much easier throw.
Foles of course bounced back with a strike to Avant for 22 yards and then the game-winning touchdown to Maclin.
Overall, a lot to like out of the rookie in his fourth career start. And certainly some things to work on going forward.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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