Fan Review: Nick Foles vs. Tampa Bay
Last Sunday at Tampa Bay, Nick Foles had an impressive performance. He completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards and 2 TDs in the most impressive outing of his young career and most importantly, he was chosen by you, the fans, to be the first candidate for our Fan Review!
So, let’s get into the good stuff.
The first thing to know about this contest was that the Eagles played a fairly aggressive game in the safest way possible. Out of the 51 passes that Foles threw, I counted 48 of them being thrown out of the shotgun. Yes, 48. This approach allowed Foles to focus on completing shorter, more precise routes and mitigated some of awful line play (which still allowed six sacks).
Which brings me to my first major point: Foles was brilliant with extending plays. Despite the constant onslaught of pressure, he demonstrated superb pocket presence and poise.
For example, in the second quarter one of Tampa’s lineman bursts around the edge and wraps Foles around the leg. However, he still managed to complete a beautiful ball on the opposite side of the field to Jason Avant, who in turn makes the play of the day with a miraculous one-handed grab.
Another great example of Foles’ ability to create came in the fourth quarter when he steps on in the pocket and nails Clay Harbor in a tight window at the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Throughout the contest Foles managed to regularly complete throws on the run and keep drives alive. He was truly impressive in that regard on Sunday and actually reminded me of Tony Romo.
Another aspect in which Foles impressed was his willingness to let plays die rather than make a costly mistake. For example, when one screen play was blown up in the second quarter and pressure was closing in, Foles chose to spike the ball at the running back’s feet rather than take a sack or force a bad throw. That kind of awareness is hard to teach and demonstrates his knowledge of the game.
Other ways in which Foles was impressive on Sunday were more subtle. He was quick in his decision-making, he looked off defenders, he was regularly hitting receivers in stride and rarely threw into questionable situations.
The only flaw in his game, and my chief concern with Foles going forward, is his ability to throw the deep ball. Foles completed a few passes downfield (4 of 8), however most of those completions were to wide open receivers. On his other throws he struggled placing the proper touch and provided too much ark on his delivery, making the pass more of a jump ball than a regular deep ball.
Nevertheless, Foles was fantastic and did everything you’d expect from a top-notch quarterback against the worst passing defense in the league…and he did it with one of the worst lines in the NFL an essentially no support on the ground; the running backs netted 2 yards on 13 carries while Foles had three runs for 27 yards and a touchdown. Overall, his performance was everything you could hope for from a rookie and then some. Job well done, Nick Foles. Job well done.