Boy was it good to finally see the Eagles win again. I know the team is still 4-9 and the win doesn't change much, but it was needed. You could see the joy on the faces of the players and coaches. It has killed these guys to lose games for the last two months. I sure know it was good for me to have a smile on my face at the end of an Eagles game.
I was nervous for a minute. That review by the officials seemed to take forever. The play was clearly a touchdown. It felt like the officials were having a discussion along the lines of "I know this is a legit touchdown, but how can we take it away and keep Tommy's suffering at a maximum level. Heck, this could be the thing that breaks him." Thankfully, the score held up and we could be happy for one December afternoon.
Winning aside, it was great to see
In crunch time, Foles led the Eagles on a 72-yard touchdown drive and a 64-yard touchdown drive. That gave the team a 23-21 win and made us all feel like winners for about five minutes. I love the fact these were legitimate drives. They featured three third down conversions and a pair of fourth down conversions. There wasn't any play longer than 24 yards. This wasn't a matter of the defense being burned by big plays. This was all about Foles methodically leading the offense down the field and scoring touchdowns, both of which were red zone scores.
Why is that important? Drives like that don't involve a lot of lucky plays. Drives like that can be repeated because they are based on execution and not circumstances. Think about a pair of Eagles-Giants games from the past. In 2010,
You can't count on stuff like that. Those are crazy games that happen once every decade. Foles’ comeback can be repeated. I hope he's not behind in games on a regular basis, but it is good to know that he can handle that situation and come through with a victory.
One of the best things you can say about Foles is that he didn't look like a rookie. He's definitely unlike any rookie Eagles quarterback that I've ever seen. Most of them sit for a year or more, but even when they do play they look like rookies. Foles handled the pressure well, both from the defense and the overall situation. There was no panic from him. Heck, he didn't even seem nervous. I'm sure he had butterflies in his stomach (or maybe pterodactyls), but he didn't let it show. That's a big coaching point for Andy Reid with his quarterbacks. Reid doesn't want them showing any stress or frustration. Don't let the defense know you’re nervous. Don't let the guys in the huddle know that.
Foles has good pocket presence. Not just good for a rookie, but good for anyone. That is another huge compliment. Anyone can throw the ball. The quarterbacks who succeed in this league are the guys who can stand in the pocket, with chaos all around them, and stay focused on their receivers. This isn't easy or natural. When defenders are closing in on you and grabbing at you, it is hard to keep your eyes downfield as you wait for
It is up to the receivers to reward Foles when he does this. Both Avant and Maclin did this on Sunday. Avant made one of the best catches I have ever seen when he leapt up and made a one-handed grab by the sideline. That was an absolutely sensational pass. Foles was under duress and waited as long as he could. He then put the ball near Avant and gave him a chance to make a play. Avant did just that and the play converted a third-and-17 into a first down. The drive resulted in a field goal and the first points of the game. Maclin didn't make any spectacular catches, but his clutch grab on the final play delivered the win.
You want to see how teammates respond to a young quarterback. The receivers really helped Foles out with some key catches. The receivers also had their best blocking game of the year. Maclin had a great block on Foles' touchdown run. There was a short pass to
Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He is the Editor of IgglesBlitz.com and was a contributor to the Eagles Almanac.
The offensive line did not have a stellar showing. They got beat too many times. They did have some success against the blitz. Tampa Bay seemed more effective when just rushing four. The line did a good job late in the game. Foles dropped back to pass 20 times on the final two drives. He was sacked only once. The game was on the line. Tampa Bay knew the Eagles had to throw. The line gave Foles the time he needed and it resulted in a win.
The running game was another story. Tampa Bay dominated the line of scrimmage when the Eagles tried to run. Tampa Bay loves to slant players, shoot gaps and bring safeties up quickly.
Take a second to appreciate what we saw on Sunday. Would you have ever thought it was possible for the Eagles to throw for 381 yards and score 23 points with
The defense had a very up and down day. They shut out the Bucs in the first half and looked pretty good. To be fair, part of that was on Tampa Bay for playing very sloppy football. There were some very positive signs from the defense.
This was not a good game for the Eagles' special teams units. There were two missed field goals, a false start penalty and a muffed punt. Change the outcome of those plays and the Eagles might have won 30-14. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work like that. It was impressive to see
When a season goes awry, you hope to find out as much as you can about rookies, young players and backups. With all the injuries, the Eagles are getting a full taste of that. It was great to see the team come up big on Sunday with the win. You don't want losing to become a habit. You don't want the young players getting too discouraged.
That win really did mean something to the players and coaches. How great was it to see Reid and Howard Mudd hugging afterward? That was a terrific moment in a really miserable year.