A week after leading the Eagles to victory in relief of an injured Michael Vick, Nick Foles doubled down Sunday afternoon with an impressive performance in the Eagles' 31-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"(My) hat is off to Tampa," Foles said after the win. "I thought that they had a really good team and a really good defense. We had to fight hard. I was really proud of our guys for fighting. There were some good things out there and it was a great win."
In his brief NFL career, Foles has won two games as a starting quarterback. Oddly enough, both of those wins have come in Tampa Bay's Raymond James stadium. Foles went 22-of-31 for 296 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and also ran in for another score. Following the game, Foles spoke of the trust that he has in the team around him.
"I feel really comfortable here," Foles said. "I feel comfortable with our personnel, our plays, and everything. It helps when you have a great relationship with the players and the coaches, and when you go into a game and you're on the same page, you know that you're going to fight for each other. I was really proud of the guys. Everyone stuck together and it was another team win."
Since coming in for relief of Vick in the second quarter against the New York Giants, Foles has been tremendously sharp, throwing for five touchdowns without an interception in roughly a game and a half of action. The Arizona product credits his ability to take care of the ball to the preparation that he undergoes prior to every game.
"I think preparation (is the key)," Foles explained. "Our guys are doing a great job of running their routes and the guys up front are doing a great job of blocking. It takes everybody being on the same page for (turnovers) not to happen. There's always a chance that it will, but the big thing is that if you do throw a pick, you come back firing. I think the big thing is understanding what's going on in the defense, knowing your reads, not trying to force the ball, and just be smart with it. Turnovers, as you all have seen, can be a big determining factor in the game. I'm just trying to be smart with the ball."
One of the areas of the game where Foles has excelled thus far is the red zone. On Sunday, Foles was able to make sure that the Eagles finished their drives with touchdowns instead of field goals when they were deep in enemy territory. The Eagles scored touchdowns on two of their three red-zone trips against the Buccaneers.
"It's tremendously important to be sharp in the red zone," said Foles. "You really want to get those points. You don't want to come away with field goals. I think the big thing is preparation and see what they're going to do, and you have to be on time, and you have to be sharp with your throws … You can't hold onto the ball for too long, because that's when bad things happen because everything is faster down there. That all goes preparation and everybody being on the same page and the line doing a great job of blocking, and they did so we were able to do great things in the red zone."
As the Eagles get ready to host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday in a game that could have a large impact on the NFC playoff picture come the end of the regular season, Foles doesn't know whether or not he will be called on again to start a game for the Eagles. Prior to Sunday, Chip Kelly said that Vick will be the Eagles starting quarterback as long as he is healthy. When asked about how he is handling the uncertain situation, Foles answered that he isn't thinking too far ahead. He is taking things one day at a time, making sure that he is ready for whatever comes his way.
"I don't worry about it," Foles explained. "I'm really proud of my team for winning right now. It was a hard-fought game and I'm going to enjoy it with my teammates. No matter what happens, I'm going to be right there and I'm going to stay the same person. I know who I am, and Mike was tremendous today. Mike and Matt (Barkley) were right there to support me no matter what, and it really helps when you have quarterbacks in a room with quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor that support you no matter what … It's pretty special."
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