The 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have proven they are a team that is just good enough to lose close games; led by Nick Foles, the Eagles got the job done.
Foles was nearly flawless, executing the offense with precision and protecting the ball very well. In compiling a 133 QB rating, Foles completed 22 of 31 pass attempts for 296 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding a rushing touchdown.
The one question about Foles’ game has been his ability to throw a good deep ball. Impressively, he connected on 47-yard and 36-yards touchdowns to Riley Cooper and Desean Jackson.
There were also fewer drops by Eagles receivers due to Foles’ touch as compared to that of his predecessor, Michael Vick. Foles has the mobility of a statue, yet in an interesting dichotomy, he takes fewer sacks than the fleet-footed Vick does. His quick decision-making and size account for this.
Detractors who still mystifyingly try to make the argument that Vick should be the starter like to point out that the two games Foles has won were against bad teams.
Foles led the Eagles to 31 points against a Bucs defense that had surrendered just 17.5 points per game before Sunday. Throwing for three touchdowns is something that Vick hasn’t done, as Foles did Sunday, since the Miracle at the Meadowlands in 2010.
Vick hasn’t compiled a QB rating as high as Foles’ 133 on Sunday since the 2010 Monday night game versus the Redskins, when the Eagles blitzkrieg offensive attack racked up 59 points. As if that was not enough proof, Foles has more TD passes in 61 attempts than Vick has in 132.
The Eagles were 2-3 in all-important red zone possessions Sunday; they had been running at a 32-percent success rate under Vick, good for 30th in the 32-team NFL.
Lesean McCoy picked up 171 yards from scrimmage, 116 rushing, and Desean Jackson scored two TD’s, one in the red zone, for the second straight week with Foles at the helm.
What does all that mean? It simply proves further than Foles is better than Mike Vick. The offense looked smoother and is simply more productive under Foles because of his red zone acumen.
The defense has progressed to the point where they occasionally make a play. However, they do not get enough of a pass rush, are not stout enough against the run, and repeatedly get torched by an opposing receiver each week. This week it was Vincent Jackson, who is a Pro Bowler, who did the most damage. That is acceptable, but allowing a TE like Tim Wright to repeatedly convert third downs is worrisome going forward.
It was a good and necessary win, but WR Jason Avant perhaps said it best when he noted, “we ain’t good yet, but we’re getting there.”
This team is a work in progress under Chip Kelly. They’ve accomplished enough to set up a showdown this Sunday with the hated Dallas Cowboys. Always a big game, this one is even bigger because the winner will be in control of the NFC East.
Have the Eagles reached a point in their progression where they can snap their historic home losing streak? If so, it will come with the added bonus of dispatching the Cowboys and climbing into sole possession of first place.
That question remains to be answered. The question of which quarterback gives the Eagles the better chance to win has already been answered.