Nick Foles and his seven-touchdown outing in Oakland on Sunday created a well-deserved buzz around the NFL. It was a great performance. It was a marvelous effort not only from Foles, the second-year quarterback who bounced back from a poor game and a concussion suffered two weeks prior to have one of the greatest games a quarterback has ever had.
From an analytics standpoint, it was a perfect game, as Foles registered a 158.3 passer rating.
By Monday, Foles was in the NovaCare Complex working out on his off day, preparing for the next challenge. It's exactly the correct mindset Foles and his young teammates must have, because Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers wait, and those folks won't be impressed a bit by anything that happened in Oakland.
Players and coaches in the NFL talk about a "24-hour rule," which means that 24 hours from the time the whistle blows to end one game is the only time allotted to reviewing and replaying and living in the moment of that game.
After that, it's "What have you done for me lately?"
While the media and fans discuss and rehash and project and churn the game that just was until the cycle is exhausted, NFL players and coaches are robotic in their preparation for the task ahead. I've seen coaches the next morning after a game have trouble recalling exactly what happened the day before because by the time I see them, the coaches have watched the film from the game, assigned their grades, and have seen hours of film on the upcoming opponent. Their minds transition to the Sunday ahead remarkably quickly.
Players are largely the same, but they face reminders on almost a daily basis. An NFL locker room is open most of the week to the media -- in the case of the Eagles, Tuesday through Thursday -- so players are subject to whatever reporters want to discuss.
Imagine, then, the tone of the back-and-forth with the media this week compared to a week ago. Foles showed great patience and maturity answering questions last week as reporters repeatedly asked him about his poor game against Dallas and the concussion he suffered in that loss. Foles was clearly ready to move on to the next topic, the present, but circumstances would not allow that. Instead, No. 9 was stuck in the past, specifically what the heck happened against Dallas.
It's not going to be any different in the days ahead. How many times will Foles be asked, "What was it like to throw seven touchdowns in Oakland?" "How did you enjoy watching the film of that game?" "Do you think you've established that you can be the quarterback of the future here?"
This is not to criticize anyone in the media, nor is it a jab at the fans for asking the questions. This is the way life works in the NFL: The games (most of them, anyway) are played on Sundays and then we fill time with conversation until the following Sunday. It's a wonderful cadence of life, and it's a reason there is nothing better -- not even close -- than an NFL season.
An extreme amount of maturity and focus are needed to avoid falling into the nasty recycling trap. Reporters from around the country will seek out Foles and ask him about his historic game in Oakland. New expectations for Foles will now be set by some who dub him "The Seven-Touchdown Man" as they offer glancing rehashes of the matchup coming against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Foles knows, though, as does everyone on this team, that the past is just that and that if all concentration is not pointed forward, then trouble is bound to greet the team at Lambeau Field.
The Eagles are nine games through the season with a roster that averages 25.9 years and the ups and downs of a 4-5 record reflect that young, as well as some injuries at quarterback and some inconsistency in all three phases of the game.
For the sake of the team, let's hope the players have their focus pointed in the right direction. This is a week in which they're going to hear so often about the things they did well in Oakland, and that kind of chatter can be every bit as dangerous as the negative tones some interviews take.
The rule in the NFL is that after 24 hours have expired from the time the clock goes to zeroes, the game is but a distant memory. That is the first of many tests as the Eagles gear up to play a fine Green Bay team that is unquestionably a Super Bowl contender.
NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT
- Head coach Chip Kelly said on Monday that he "didn't think" Michael Vick would be able to participate fully in Tuesday's practice as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
- Despite his numbers dropping significantly the last three weeks, running back LeSean McCoy remains atop the NFL's rushing leaders with 777 yards. He has a 51-yard lead on Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. McCoy is 17 yards behind league leader Jamaal Charles with 1,097 total yards from scrimmage.
- Foles has a passer rating of 127.4, which is the highest in the NFL. His 118 passing attempts are too few for Foles to qualify for NFL rankings, though. Thirteen touchdowns in 118 passing attempts translates to a touchdown percentage of 11.0, which would be far away the best in the NFL. Peyton Manning, for comparison's sakes, has a 119.4 passer rating and a touchdown percentage of 8.7.
- Good for Riley Cooper, He is averaging a robust 18.1 yards per catch and has 360 receiving yards the last four games. Cooper has five touchdown catches this season.
- Brent Celek and Zach Ertz combined for 8 receptions, 69 yards and 2 touchdowns against Oakland. They helped the Eagles convert all four opportunities in the red zone.
- The Eagles allowed 33 touchdown passes a year ago, the worst in franchise history. Through nine games, this defense has permitted 14. A real test, maybe as stiff as the one in Denver, comes against Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday. It will be a great indication of just how far the Eagles have come on that side of the ball.