Stats: 18/31 201 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush TD, 2 INTs, 61.4 QB rating
Hell of a start
Foles came out firing.
He was 5/5 for 65 yards and a TD on the first drive.
After two drives, Foles was 8/9 for 113 yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, and the Eagles led 14-0.
He connected on two third downs…
Drive 1: 3rd and 1- pass complete to Zach Ertz for 11 yards
Drive 2: 3rd and 7- pass complete to Alshon Jeffery for 30 yards.
You couldn’t have scripted a better start. He looked like Super Bowl 52 Nick Foles, and I, like many of you, thought “here we go again.”
The Eagles were in business up 14-0 with the ball after a Brandon Graham strip sack forced a Saints punt.
On the first play of the second quarter, Foles connected with Alshon Jeffery for 14 yards to move the ball to their 46 yard line.
The Eagles had all the momentum in the world, but two plays later, Foles had Zach Ertz deep left but badly under threw him leading to a Marshon Lattimore interception.
The Saints would then go on to convert a 4th down on their own 30, then get into the end zone on 4th and goal to cut the lead to 14-7.
The momentum had clearly shifted, and it was pretty much all down hill from the interception.
Foles would go 3/6 for 29 yards, (0-2 on third down) the rest of the half, and would head to the locker room with a start line of 12/17 for 156 yards, 1 TD (1 rushing) 1 int, with a 94.2 QB rating.
The Eagles only had the ball four times in the second half, leaving Foles with limited opportunities. However, he failed to take advantage of the ones he did have.
Foles was plagued by bad underthrows in this game.
On a 3rd and 8, Foles had Golden Tate deep, but again baldy under threw him.
Prior to the final drive, he was only 6/11 for 24 yards in the second half, including 0/3 on third down. He should have been 0/4, but was bailed out by a P.J Williams pass interference penalty.
What could have been ?
The final drive was neither good or bad. It just left us with one giant question mark.
After Wil Lutz, who never misses, missed a 52 yard field goal, Foles and the Eagles had one last chance.
Foles threw his best ball of the second half, completing a huge 2nd and 10 pass to Zach Ertz for 16 yards. Then a roughing the passer penalty tacked on 15 more yards moving the ball all the way to the Saints 27 yard line.
You could start to feel it.
Then the unthinkable. A pass right on the money goes right threw Alshon Jeffery’s hands, ending the Eagles season.
Foles looked great early on. I really thought this would be another chapter to his amazing story.
If he was able to lead the Eagles down the field for points following the Brandon Graham sack, I think I would be telling a different story today, but the interception gave the Saints the momentum they desperately needed.
There were some opportunities in the second half, but Foles was hampered by underthrow after underthrow.
It’s tough to score 14 points in New Orleans and live to tell about it.
The Eagles didn’t have anything that even closely resembled a run game, which didn’t do him any favors, but I think we can all agree that this wasn’t his best performance.
With all of that being said, it’s how the game ended that really leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I do believe that Foles was going to put the Eagles in the end zone on that final drive. We were robbed of one of the best endings in playoff history.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
What’s next for Nick Foles?
That very question will be the topic of the offseason here in Philadelphia and around the NFL.
I’ve never seen a situation like this before. This is uncharted waters.
My thoughts on this situation are simple- Carson Wentz is the guy moving forward.
I have all the respect in the world for Nick Foles.
In fact, I believe that without question he deserves to be a starter. I’d take that a step further to say that he is a top 20 quarterback in this league.
However, I see Carson Wentz eventually turning into a top 10/top 5 QB in this league.
If you look at the current playoff situation, three of the four teams moving on have three of the best QB’s in the league, including two of the greatest ever. Jared Goff is no slouch either.
Foles is a solid quarterback, but I don’t think he could lead a team over the course of a 16 game season to the 12/13 wins you need to get the homefield advantage that can propel you back to the Super Bowl.
One option would be to bring Foles back as the backup.
As much as that makes sense in theory, financially it would be a mistake. The Eagles have too many holes that they need to plug this offseason. They need as much flexibility as possible. Plus, I don’t get the sense that Foles wants to be a backup. He deserves to start.
Regardless of my opinion, this story is not going away any time soon.
The Foles Files are far from a closed case.