It was not the kind of showing the Eagles hoped to have going into Minnesota against a depleted Vikings team without running back Adrian Peterson and their three top cornerbacks. At 8-5 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC East, the Eagles had a chance to win their sixth straight game and keep the momentum going. Instead, the Eagles were served a slice of humble pie and brought back to reality.
"We didn't get things going early on and that really hurt us, hurt the momentum of the team," Nick Foles said. "Just looking back, we really hurt ourselves early and really need to execute early on in the game to get the momentum because we knew this team, they'd played their hats off. The Vikings had a great game plan. They played hard today, they outplayed us today, but it's games like this that make you better – you grow together, and there's a lot to work on from that game film and a lot of corrections to make."
Foles, despite completing 30-of-48 passes for 428 yards, three touchdowns and a 103.5 quarterback rating, had an admittedly shaky performance. He missed open receivers, held onto the ball too long, took bad sacks, threw an interception and even made an illegal peel-back block to negate a DeSean Jackson touchdown run on a nifty reverse.
"I just have to execute better and put us in a better position," Foles said. "At times I missed some throws and made a few mistakes. I'll continue to work at it. As a quarterback, you can't put your team in that position where you make a mistake, like throw an interception or whatever it may be, so this is where you just keep playing football, you keep grinding. There wasn't a second in this game that the team didn't keep fighting and stay in it with one another. That's why we have a great team here, it's because we're going to come back to work, we're going to be hungry like we always are, and we're going to fix the mistakes we made and we'll be better for it."
Using this game as a learning experience and being better off because of it in the future was a common theme throughout Foles' post-game press conference. He was mature, matter-of-fact about what happened against the Vikings and bullish about the future. Just as Foles did not dwell too long on the team's emotional victory over the Lions, he won't let the loss to the Vikings ruin what the Eagles have worked so hard to build to this point.
"I think it's just the game of football, you're not always going to play at an extremely high level," Foles said. "The one thing, I'm going to keep fighting, I'm going to keep playing for my teammates. I'm going to make mistakes, I told you all that before. I'm not perfect by any means. I will make a mistake, but I guarantee you I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to keep fighting for the guys in that room, I'm going to keep fighting for the guys on that field because I love those guys. Yes, I made mistakes today, but I understand them and I take them to heart. It hurts, but it goes back to the 24-hour rule where I'll look at the film, I'll understand it and I'll fix it. I'm going to keep pushing these guys because we have a great team here, and we'll get better because of it."
Foles was in no mood to reminisce or delve into what-could-have-been scenarios. He's focused on identifying the mistakes he made, correcting them and making sure they do not happen against the Chicago Bears. Foles believes in himself, he believes in his teammates and their collective resolve and he believes in the Philadelphia Eagles. They'll get back to work immediately, look to put this debacle against the Vikings behind them and focus on going 1-0 next Sunday night. That's all they can do and that's all they can control.
"That's not how life is," Foles said. "You can't have a play back and a do over, so I don't even go there. I look at it as, alright, I made a mistake – what can I do next time to not make that mistake, so therefore it'll make me a better player. I'm not going to let this game defeat me. I'm going to use this game to make me better. I'm going to learn from it, our team's going to learn from it and we're going to stay together throughout this and make each other better. Obviously you're frustrated, you're a competitor, you put it all on the field, you sacrifice your body, you do everything – at the end of the day it's tough (to lose), but we a great group of people in that locker room. We're going to keep fighting, we're going to stick together because that's what the Philadelphia Eagles are. We're a team, we're a family. It's a special place, and I'm excited to get back to work, analyze what went wrong and fix it. I know the guys are too and they'll be ready to go."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.