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Busted: Nick Foles plays worst game as a pro on big stage versus Dallas

Oct 20, 2013, 5:36 PM EDT


Chip Kelly’s analysis of Nick Foles’ performance in a 17-3 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys: “He was off.”

You can say that again. And again. And again. Amid calls from fans and writers (such as myself) for Foles to take over the reins as the Eagles’ starting quarterback from Michael Vick, the second-year quarterback experienced what was easily his worst outing since arriving in the NFL. And in the process, Philadelphia ceded first place in the NFC East to one of its most hated rivals.

Just how “off” was Foles? He connected on only 11 of 29 passes for a paltry 80 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw numerous passes behind receivers. He overthrew them on plenty of occasions too. For a guy who entered the week completing 67 percent of his passes this season, Foles looked almost Tim Tebow-esque as he struggled to hit his targets.

Not only was it the worst showing of Foles’ short career—it was easily the most ineffective any starter has been for the Eagles this season.

Foles would not finish the game due to a head injury, and since Vick was inactive with the hamstring, that meant Matt Barkley was the only option remaining. The fourth-round rookie went 11 for 20 for 129 yards, but managed to throw three picks in roughly a quarter of action.

No controversy there, although if both Vick and Foles are unable to go next week, Barkley might be the starter by default. Yikes.

Making Foles’ poor performance all the more disappointing was the fact that the Birds’ defense did everything they had to do to keep them in the game. Holding Tony Romo and the Cowboys to just 17 points is no small feat, particularly when the offense punts the ball away nine times and turns it over three more. The game was there for the taking with almost any reasonable production from the offense.

Yes, it was that disastrous of a performance for Foles, and yes, it likely cost him any opportunity to seize the job from Vick. That said, as awful as Foles was—and make no mistake, he was about as bad as it gets—it shouldn’t be enough to sway opinions that he is the right quarterback going forward.

Foles crashing back down to earth was always a distinct possibility, but the benefits of going back to Vick are still questionable at best. He’s laid his stinkers this season too already—Kansas City ring a bell? More to the point, unless Vick is taking this team on a deep playoff run or will be here beyond this year, why not give Foles the opportunity to rebound?

Critics will use Sunday’s performance against Dallas to draw inevitable comparisons to Bobby Hoying and Kevin Kolb. Does one horrendous game erase all of the good Foles had done and all of the improvements he’s made though? Has no great quarterback ever experienced a completely ineffective outing when they were still just nine starts into their NFL career?

Foles was the worst he’s ever been on Sunday, and he easily cost the Eagles a win in a huge spot against a division rival. Yet the benefits to going back to Vick remain debatable, and as much as detractors pointed to Foles’ limited sample size before this loss, it’s only grown by one game.

Does this really change everything?

That’s for each to decide on their own at this point. The arguments for Vick or Foles are clear. Maybe this game changed some minds, but it didn’t change mine.

Then again, it may not matter. Vick could still be a week or two away from returning, and now Foles’ status is up in the air. Maybe one is ready next week and the other is not. Maybe neither is, and it’s back to Barkley. We’ll see.

The only thing that seems clear in this whole mess now is what we all assumed before the season ever got underway. The Eagles almost certainly need to draft another quarterback in 2014 regardless. So why not let the kids they have play now?

  1. sfsu - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Another week, another mismanaged end-of-first half that will go unmentioned in the media, because hey, Kelly gives better quotes than Reid

  2. Jason R. - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    At what point do we start that discussion of a QB in 2014? My group of friends started in the second half of this game and found that the list of QBs possibly coming out is a who’s who of exciting guys: Bridgewater (god I hope they don’t draft high enough to have a shot at him, but if they do, ok), Hundley, Johnny Football, Mariota, Boyd are all redshirt sophomores with draft eligibility, thought idk how I feel about giving the keys to a two year collegian.

    Seems like any of them would be interesting, if nothing else. Mariota is the obvious choice what with his Kelly connection. Carr and Mettenberger are less exciting options and don’t appear to be franchise guys, but they’re there and what do I know?

    Anyway, I’m gonna start watching them a little more intently

    • Matt S. - Oct 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Mariota, Boyd, and Bridgewater are definitely good looking prospects. As it looks right now Bridgewater won’t be available when we draft unless we trade up but I could see a guy like Mariota doing good things in this offense. I really don’t want any part of Johnny Football.

  3. Chris - Oct 20, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    through some combination of rapid play, dumb luck, terrible opposition, and the sheer talent of our handful of legit weapons, this team has posted numbers that exceed its talent-level, but we have some serious flaws here

    1. beyond DJax our WR corps is flat-out awful…they hardly ever get open, and even if they do their hands of stone make catching the ball a 50/50 proposition…and I hate to say it because I was a fan of his, but Brent Celek might as well be Brent Relic now cause he’s done as an NFL player

    2. if Chip doesn’t have Vick, he better come up with a way to run the ball other than the read option, because even Shady isn’t good enough to excel on a regular basis when he has three or four hats on him the moment he touches the ball, and our offensive line is not good enough to compensate. speaking of which…

    3. Chip’s still got Andy Reid’s O line out there. Good players or not (and they’re not as good as they were pre-injuries), they weren’t put together to run block as much as Chip’s offense needs

    4. and as far as QB goes…I don’t think it matters who starts, cause I don’t see either of these guys QBing us in 2015…Vick certainly not, and I don’t think Foles is the guy either…

    • Dan - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      Wrong. Foles had all day in the pocket. All day. he had ample protection. He just couldn’t throw. I mean, when he got a ball in receivers hands today, it wasn’t like the receivers were covered, his throws were low, or behind the receivers. Granted, they could have caught some of them, but they were bad throws.

      McCoy is that good. The Cowboys didn’t have to worry about the passing game. Seriously. Foles ruined the passing game all by himself, so the Cowboys could sit on the running game. And McCoy did seem a little slow today, but a player isn’t going to be on his game for 16 games in a season.

      I am not a Foles hater. Vick is better, and should start every game he is healthy for, and thought that the Eagles needed Vick to start to win this game. However, after seeing the Cowboys only put up 17 points, I had all the faith in the world that Foles could get 30 points on the board. Foles was not Foles today.

  4. sfsu - Oct 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    You either try to win the division with Vick, or you tank the season with Barkley

  5. Northeast Philly - Oct 20, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Jeez, Kulp. Even we’ve given up on Foles at this point.

  6. Big Rick - Oct 20, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    If Matt Barkley wasn’t Charles Barkley’s brother the Eagles would have never drafted him.

  7. nahroots - Oct 20, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    wuddyaknow? Kulp eats krow again. And the beat goes on and on and…

  8. Lyndon69 - Oct 21, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Foles didnt crash back down to earth, he plummeted through the earth and went several layers deep until he hit the core. Coming back to earth means thats where he belongs and that his brief trip in the clouds was misleading. A hoax. Coming back down to earth for a great starting QB means that hed be good, not comoletely ineffective.

    Im sorry, but this has Kevin Kolb written all over it. I mean, out of 9 starts, the only two hes won were against an awful bucks team in sunny Florida. If he were going to be the starting QB that we need, hed have put the team on his back for some of those games, no matter how awful we were, and stolen a couple. Especially against teams with the 2nd worse defense that only put up 17 points against us and turned the ball over.

    And I dont think facing reality about Foles necessarily makes you a vick fanatic, but the fact is that Vick probably gives you a slightly better chance to win than foles, despite his weakness’ and injury tendencies. The fact that opposing defenses simply have to keep an eye on him gives him a leg up on foles and makes the offense more robust. Not saying hes taking us to the promise land, but the truth is that if you want to compete for the beast of the least nfc east title and sneak into the playoffs somehow, you go with Vick.

  9. thekrisheim - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    i really hoped they showed all the receivers foles was just not seeing open downfield on tv – this is not just about his awful accuracy, he didnt do anything well. avant was wide open on that pass to the end zone, he didnt step into the throw and came up well short, just like two or three other throws. i think the gameplan was there to score, but he was just that bad. the fact that they also practiced all week and actually called the wr screen play for 88 and he drops it tells you all you need to know about why he is not an NFL ready receiver. what a frustrating game.

  10. gq - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    that was the worst game i’ve seen by a qb, period. At least Tebow could get a first down on occasion. It was embarassing to be a fan and painful to watch. Even the player were visibly frustrated. He’s cooked. Close the door, it’s over. No need to write articles for the Foles bandwagon saying “hey guys, hasn’t anyone else had a bad game before,” as you sit there with your tail between your legs. It’s over. The good news is that Howie has from now until the draft to figure out a plan for the future

  11. hitnrun - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    By no means do I think we should go back to Vick (unless you want a 7-9 record with a chance to win the division in the last week, before drafting 17th, I guess. In which case, I’m game). There’s simply no potential there.

    But the people who were putting on their bowties with Foles and pointing at the Bucs defense were being willfully ignorant. Defense IS Offense in the NFL, and vice versa. There is no such thing as an 0-6 team with a good defense. I don’t care if they held Tom Brady to 23 points, they left huge holes in their coverage that the Eagles’ receivers waltzed through.

    Against a Dallas coverage that is by no means elite, but which yesterday was certainly of standard NFL caliber, Foles simply couldn’t find anyone. There are a whole lot of would-be QBs who can shred a team that lets receivers slip open, but to be a winning NFL quarterback, you have to be confident enough to hit guys who only have one step.

  12. BenE. - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Are we still going to get Kulp’s Wednesday morning “Why Starting Foles Was Still A Good Thing” article?

  13. Jay D - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I wonder how many eagles fans were watching and saying “now what…….”

    philly friggin sports!!!!

  14. 2sentz - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Love how so many here have the patience and attention span of my dog. “Omigod Foles suuuuuucks!!!”

    Yes he had a brutal game. Yes I’m as annoyed as anyone. Guess who else has had brutal games? Vick and every damn QB ever. It was one afternoon folks, thankfully only game #7 out of 16, in a season that at best wasn’t expected to be effing awesome anyway. Who here really thinks this team is championship material?

    Even Foles isn’t optimistic about Foles today. We’ve spent all summer & early fall knowing that neither Vick or Foles is Rogers, so don’t act all that surprised. Take anything either of these guys does positively as a bonus, and let’s get a real QB come winter. Until then, breathe.

  15. CousinVinny - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Nick Foles had a losing record in college.
    His only winning season out of 3 full seasons in college he was shut out in the Bowl game.
    Nick Foles is 2-6 in his NFL career as a starter.
    He has an 0-4 record vs the NFC East.

    By comparison, since joining the Eagles, Vick has 9-4 record vs NFC East and is 9-1 in games he’s finished

    Overall, Foles has only looked good vs two WINLESS teams that didn’t fully prepare for him
    And he played his best last season vs Bucs team in complete free fall mode that had a historically poor pass defense.

    Basically at no level of football since high school can one say Foles has shown anything to suggest he will be some future stud
    at the QB position.

    Yet Andrew Kulp sticks to his guns, because folks it’s not really about football at this point.
    It’s about his personal feelings towards Michael Vick.

    I’d respect him more if he would just admit it.

    • hitnrun - Oct 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Personal feelings? I think professional feelings can more than account for how Kulp or anyone feels about Mike Vick.

      Specifically, as a professional blogger analyzing a professional quarterback, he probably feels that Mike Vick is never going to get to and win a playoff game again, much less 4 of them.

      • CousinVinny - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Yet we should put blind faith in Foles accomplishing this when it’s a guy who wasn’t even a winner at the collegiate level? A guy who lost two Bowl games with a combined 10 points 1 TD and 4 INTs in those two games?

  16. CousinVinny - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    “At what point do we start that discussion of a QB in 2014?”

    As much as people who want to get rid of Vick don’t like to hear the truth about Vick being a better option than Foles, they’ll hate even more the truth that Vick is a better option in 2014 through 2016 of any draft eligible QB the Eagles will have a chance to get

    Did you see Tajh Boyd play vs Florida State?

    And from a physical tools standpont, Vick at 35 and 36 will be more talented than Boyd, Manziel, and Hundley.

    The one guy who will be superior to Vick athletically at that age will be Mariota and he doesn’t have the same arm.

    • Jason Radcliff. - Oct 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Yeah, a 33-35 year old running QB that peaked 9 years ago and can’t stay healthy is definitely a better option than trying to find a franchise QB, what was I thinking?!

      • CousinVinny - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Didnt’ realize 2010 was 9 years ago when Vick had a career high in TD passes, total TDs, and rushing TDs

        Didn’t realize 2013 was 9 years ago where Vick now has a career high (and NFL record pace) in his yards per carry.

        Didn’t know 3rd and 4th best QBs in drafts were some no brainer franchise QB.

        Again you name the player that will be available that is hands down better than Vick in 2014. Manziel? Boyd? please.

  17. cape maybe - Oct 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    I think everyone’s missing the point. It’s quite clear that the only QB who’s talented enough, who seems to know all the answers, and who really understands what this team needs is Vick. Marcus Vick. That dude seems really intelligent, rationale, mature, not bitter, and not drunk or high sitting on his couch every Sunday in sweatpants tweeting from his burner phone while eating bagel bites.

    Marcus Vick 2014.

  18. calibird - Oct 21, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    The WR’s certainly have trouble getting open at times, but Foles clearly missed WAY too many throws. There were numerous times where Vick probably would have run for a first down or a big play if he were in and healthy. I think you gotta stick with Vick right now. This offense needs a somewhat mobile QB or a superstar QB which Foles is not. I like the guy but yesterday was horrendous, and was really his first big game that he played in the NFL. Not good.


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