Quarterback Nick Foles admitted that he couldn't have dreamed of a better NFL preseason debut.
On consecutive throws in the third quarter, the third-round pick Foles tossed two deep touchdowns strikes - of 70 yards and 44 yards, respectively - to spark the offense in the Eagles' 24-23 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. The 6-6, 243-pound Foles was 6-of-10 for 144 yards and two touchdowns for a 143.8 passer rating.
"It was a special moment. It was fun to go out and play football again," said Foles, who was the Eagles' third quarterback. "It's a start. That's what it was. It was a great win for us in a preseason game, but we still have a lot of work to do. I can't wait to get back to work."
Foles showed poise and accuracy prior to the two scoring throws. His first throw was a dumpoff to running back Bryce Brown that went for 16 yards. On a throw over the middle to tight end Chase Ford, Foles perfectly placed the ball away from a Steelers defender where Ford could use his body as a shield and haul in the pass.
But it was the first play of his third drive that got the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field in a frenzy. Foles took the ball out of the shotgun. He felt the rush coming from the edge so he stepped up, but kept his eyes downfield the entire time. The slot receiver pulled the free safety in so wide receiver Damaris Johnson was left wide open in the middle of the field. Foles, who has displayed a strong arm in Training Camp, admitted that he underthrew it, but it was enough for a 70-yard touchdown to make it a 13-7 Steelers' lead. Heck, even head coach Andy Reid called it a "big-time play."
"It was a real great throw. He got moved out of the pocket a little bit, but I mean he did a good job of keeping his eyes downfield and he found me and we made a good play," Johnson said.
After the Eagles defense forced a three-and-out, Foles took the ball out from under center and pump faked to freeze the safety. Foles identified a one-on-one matchup between wide receiver Mardy Gilyard and cornerback Curtis Brown. Gilyard ran a go route and Foles tossed a ball over Gilyard. The ball had enough touch and Gilyard did a phenomenal job of bringing in the ball and staying in bounds. Gilyard was initially ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line, but after a review it was evident that Gilyard knocked the pylon over before going out of bounds.
"We just liked the matchup. Mardy's made a lot of plays in camp. I felt comfortable throwing the ball to him," Foles said. "It was just a go route. I just tried to hold the safety up a little bit and give Mardy a ball that he could adjust to and make a play on. He did a great job of doing that. The line protected once again. It was great to get another touchdown like that."
Foles couldn't dream of a better start to his NFL career. Now, he must put it in the rear-view mirror as Training Camp resumes on Saturday.
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