Facing a fierce Detroit Lions pass rush and a nasty early-December snowstorm, Nick Foles delivered his gutsiest performance of the season in the Eagles' 34-20 on Sunday.
The first half of Sunday's game didn't go the way that Foles had planned. Entering with the best quarterback rating in the NFL, Foles finished the first half 4-of-10 for 45 yards and his first interception of the season.
Though he said earlier in the week that he had previous experience of playing in poor-weather games, he (like the other 69,000 plus fans in the seats) was blindsided by the eight inches of snow that hit Philadelphia.
"It was definitely different," Foles said after the game. "I mis-executed in the first half and I have to execute on certain plays. The other team was playing in the same environment, so I know (Matthew) Stafford was playing in the same environment and he was throwing the ball, so I knew it was one of those things where I would adjust to it and we would as a team, because the routes are changed up a little bit because of the speed of them.
"When I was throwing, I couldn't really zip them because if you zip them in that weather, it's hard to see the ball, and with the gloves it will slip right through. It was just (a matter of) adjusting to how I throw the ball, and as the game went on I got more comfortable with it, and we all adjusted and made some big plays."
To Foles' credit, he and the rest of the Eagles made the necessary adjustments at halftime to turn an 8-0 deficit into a 34-20 victory. Despite the slow start, the Eagles quarterback never lost faith that his team would be able to turn things around.
"That was a very, very unique game," Foles said after the game. "I've never played in a game quite like that. Obviously we didn't play well in the first half. Weather conditions aside, we still have to go out there and execute. That's what I love about this team. We know that we're going to face adversity, but we're a tight-knit group, and we know that we're going to continue to go out there and play together.
"When we face adversity like we did in the first half, we came in at halftime and nobody wavered. We all knew that we were going to go out and play together and a team and we were going to make plays. I'm just really proud of the guys for sticking together and getting another great team win."
The Lions would score first in the third quarter on a Jeremy Ross 58-yard punt return to go up 14-0, but the Eagles would start to swing momentum back in their favor on their ensuing drive. Facing third-and-11 from their own 25-yard line, Foles hit DeSean Jackson for a gain of 12 and a first down. On the next play, Foles found Riley Cooper deep down the middle for 44 yards, which was the biggest play of the day for the Eagles to that point. On the very next play, Foles scrambled to his right and threw a jump ball in the end zone. Jackson and Cooper were both in the vicinity of the ball, but it was Jackson who came down with the pass to get the Eagles on the board for the first time. Afterwards, Foles admitted that he was throwing that ball to whoever wanted it more.
"When I was looking in the area, I saw DeSean back there, he was in the back of the end zone, and I Riley coming across," Foles explained. "I just knew that I needed to throw it in their area and it's one of those things where you saw both of them and you have to give both of them the opportunity, and they both adjusted well. DeSean came back for the ball and Riley cleared it up, and in that kind of game, it's like playing in the backyard when you're a kid. You've just got to make plays and give them a chance."
Foles threw his first interception of the season in the second quarter, when a pass sailed out of his hands and fell into the awaiting arms of Detroit's Chris Houston. Foles was two touchdowns away from breaking Peyton Manning's mark of 20 passing touchdowns to start a season before throwing an interception. Though that streak came to an end, the Eagles' win streak was extended to five games and that's all that matters to the Eagles signal-caller.
"It's like I've told all of you before, (interceptions) happen," said Foles, who set a team record with 237 straight pass attempts without an interception. "If you let, on any level, an interception defeat you, you can't play this game. I knew what I did wrong. I was trying to give my receiver an opportunity and left it a little high, but I know how I can fix it. I drive it a little lower and hopefully it's a completion.
"My teammates look at the quarterback when there is an interception thrown, and I know a lot of hype has been made about the touchdown-interception ratio, but I don't even worry about it. I worry about the wins. I learned from it. It's an interception and I can't wait to get back onto the field and throw a touchdown and make a big play, because that's what teammates look at. They look at the quarterback in those situations to see how he responds."
Though at times on Sunday it was tough for Eagles fans to foresee their team coming away with a win, and at times it was even hard for them to see the game at all, Foles and the Eagles hung tough and persevered against a very good Lions team. The conditions may not have been favorable, but Foles knew that his team would stay together and find their way.
"You're seeing a lot of white," said Foles, who finished the day with 179 yards and a 73.9 passer rating. "You're seeing a lot of snow coming down, but you try to zone all of that out and you just focus on the team and what's going on. We got more and more and more comfortable as the game went on, but that's a football game. I know that I'm personally going to play as hard as I can with all I have and I know that all of my teammates are going to do the same. … That's something that's special and that's something that's growing here in Philadelphia. That's how you win games - you win games as a team."