With a huge 27-13 win over the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Eagles are right back in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Nick Foles turned in another spectacular performance, Riley Cooper continued his emergence as a breakout receiver and the defense contained a pair of backup quarterbacks and star rookie running back Eddie Lacy.
The Eagles (5-5) have won two straight and are an impressive 5-1 on the road this season. What they will need to do is carry their success into next week against the Washington Redskins. A home game in an NFC East race will vault Philly into serious playoff consideration if it wins.
For now, Foles seems to be the obvious choice to start the remainder of the season. He’s not just playing well; he’s breaking records. He’s exceeding anything anyone would have expected from a former third-round pick considered too slow, immobile and weak-armed to succeed in Kelly’s offense. And aside from Foles, this was a great all-around win for the Birds.
Nick Foles is Not Just Playing Well; He’s Breaking Records
Last week, Nick Foles etched his name into the record book with a seven-touchdown performance. How did he follow it up?
Foles threw three touchdowns and no interceptions, giving him an absolutely absurd 16 touchdown passes this season without a pick. He did commit his first turnover of the season (a lost fumble), but it didn’t take away from a Philadelphia Eagles win. And check out this Reuben Frank stat:
Foles completed 67 percent of his passes. He averaged over 12 yards per passing attempt. Oh, and he even ran for 38 yards on eight rushes. He’s just the second QB in NFL history to throw for at least 228 yards, three scores and no picks on 18 or fewer passing attempts while adding 38 yards on the ground. And Foles tied Y.A. Tittle for the most touchdown passes in a game following his seven TDs. He did all this in a hostile Green Bay stadium, where the Packers hadn’t lost consecutive home games since 2008.
Foles definitely had some luck involved in his game. He underthrew DeSean Jackson on an early pass and was gifted with a 55-yard touchdown on a tipped ball. And he was sacked on a couple of plays when he probably should have gotten rid of the ball. But still, the numbers speak for themselves. As long as Foles is playing like this, the Eagles will keep winning.
LeSean McCoy Came Up Huge for the Eagles
There was some buzz that LeSean McCoy may have peaked already, given that he was coming off of three straight subpar games.
But McCoy put that discussion to rest in this game. He carried the ball 25 times for 155 yards, averaging over six yards per rush. That makes the Eagles now 7-0 all time when McCoy carries the football at least 25 times.
On the Eagles’ fourth-quarter drive to run out the clock, McCoy was at his finest. He had eight rushes—one for five yards, six, seven, one, 14, nine, seven and one—for 50 yards in a drive that took nearly 10 minutes of game time. That’s the mark of a true franchise back.
Riley Cooper Is Emerging as a Legitimate Receiving Threat
Riley Cooper shocked the world a week ago when he hauled in three touchdown receptions from Nick Foles, prompting fantasy football owners everywhere to wonder whether the fourth-year receiver was worth picking up.
For those that did, they’re reaping the benefits. Cooper had another strong game today, catching three passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. That’s five scores in a two-game span for Cooper. To give a comparison, Calvin Johnson has never done that. Cooper’s last five games project to a 77/1,472/20 stat line. He and Foles clearly have some chemistry together, much more than Cooper had with Michael Vick.
Cooper’s first touchdown came on a spectacular dive on a 45-yard pass, one in which Cooper beat two defenders to the ball. He’s a 6’4” player who is finally starting to play like a receiver of that size. He becomes a free agent after the season, but Cooper is making a serious case to be re-signed by the Birds.
The Defense Is a Legitimate Strength
Over the last six games, the Philadelphia Eagles have allowed 21 or fewer points in every one of them. The last time the team did that was 2004, when it went to the Super Bowl.
Defensive coordinator Billy Davis is doing a phenomenal job with this group. The front line is a core of young players in Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Bennie Logan, with splashes of Vinny Curry.
DeMeco Ryans played a fine game, recording a diving interception and two tackles for a loss. Brandon Boykin had a huge goal-line interception and long return. And the defense as a whole held Eddie Lacy to just 73 yards on 24 carries, an average of barely three yards per rush.
Alex Henery Can’t Be Trusted
To take away a negative point from the Philadelphia Eagles game, kicker Alex Henery is a weak spot on the team. He’s now missed five field goals in 10 games, shanking a 39-yard field goal in today’s contest.
For a former fourth-round pick, Henery hasn’t lived up to his draft status. He has exactly one career field goal of more than 50 yards, and that was two years ago. It might be a good idea for the Eagles to start bringing in kickers to work out, at the very least to send a serious message to Henery.