Eagles' Foles makes sure he’s part of the discussion at QB
Published: Monday, December 24, 2012
By JACK McCAFFERY
PHILADELPHIA — Of the two enduring late-season questions about the failed Eagles of 2012, one gained clarity Sunday, while the other grew more mysterious.
First, Andy Reid did nothing in a 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins to help his job security.
Yet with his second career 300-yard passing game, an interesting if ultimately failed late drive, a touchdown pass and 32 completions, Nick Foles, at least, remained high in the discussion about the Birds’ 2013 quarterback position.
“He was better than he was the last time,” Reid said, in reference to Foles’ first NFL start, a lopsided loss in Washington. “We came up short and obviously that’s not the quarterback’s fault. I thought the guys battled. I thought he did some good things. There were some snaps that he’d like to have back, but one thing that he did was continue to battle through the game.”
With a bruised hand that required X-rays at halftime, Foles led a 16-play drive that pushed the Birds from their 15 to the Washington five with eight seconds left. But from the shotgun, his final effort landed behind where it had been launched. So ruled illegal, the final second of the game was run off the clock.
Thus, despite 345 passing yards on 32-of-48 accuracy, Foles dipped to 1-5 as the Birds’ starting quarterback.
Deep into the postgame discussion and well after expressing every disappointment with the outcome, Foles pushed his day’s effort into bigger-picture talk.
“You look at it and it’s positive and it’s in the right direction,” he said. “But I look at the plays that I didn’t make and how the next time, if the situation arises, what else I would do differently. It’s just different things. I try to look at the throws I didn’t make and work on those and make those better.”
Foles’ first drive was better than his last. With the game’s first possession, he moved the Birds 76 yards on 11 plays and hit Jeremy Maclin with a 27-yard touchdown pass. But he was intercepted by London Fletcher at the Birds’ 34 in the second quarter. Five plays later, Washington took its first lead, 13-7, and never again trailed.
On the final drive, Foles had a chance to connect again with Maclin. But had his pass not fallen short in the end zone, he would have concocted his second, fourth-quarter game-winning drive … and might have begun something of a legend.
“I just have to drive the ball — continue to drive it out there,” he said. “Maclin ran a great route and gave us good coverage. So I just have to take advantage of that and get the ball out there to him and give him an opportunity to make a play.”
Foles has made 1,699 yards worth of passing plays this season, the most by an Eagles rookie, topping the 1,508 provided by John Reaves in 1972. His 265 pass attempts and 161 completions are Eagles records. His next touchdown pass would be his seventh, moving him past Davey O’Brien and into third place on the Birds’ rookie list.
“I thought Nick did good,” Brent Celek said. “He kept us in there and we battled all the way to the end.”
The Birds spent all three of their timeouts — and the two-minute warning — in the final drive, yet had a chance to win … until that final mangled play.
“We said in that situation that the clock is the most important thing,” Foles said. “And it’s just one of those things where initially I didn’t feel like anything was open. So I was just trying to make a play. I just have to be smarter and make sure it gets past the line of scrimmage. It’s on me.”
Reid has publicly committed to Foles for the rest of the season, meaning that the rookie should start again Sunday against the Giants. Foles said his hand is fine and that it did not affect his throwing against the ’Skins.
“I have to eliminate mistakes,” he said. “I fumbled and threw an interception and it’s the quarterback’s job to make sure we get more points on the board than the other team. And I didn’t do my job today.
“It’s frustrating because I’m hard on myself and I want to win. But I am going to keep working hard and I know my teammates are, too. And I’m going to show them I’m going to keep working hard and we’re going to stay together. Like I’ve always said, we are going to keep sticking together.
“It’s been a tough year, but we still have each other. And I know we are going to keep going to work. We have another game left. We’ll watch the film from this one and keep moving forward.”
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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:50 AM