If there’s one thing we know about Nick Foles, it’s that he’s consistently inconsistent.
Sure, he had brilliant performances against the Vikings and Patriots in the playoffs last year, but inconsistency has ravaged his entire career, building the hopes up of fans just enough to be disappointed the next time he doesn’t tear it up.
Thursday’s performance against the Falcons shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
Foles finished the game 19 of 34 for a measly 117 passing yards, no touchdowns, and an interception (that wasn’t his fault). He also had a 15-yard reception from Nelson Agholor on a version of the Philly Special that the team is now calling “Philly Philly.” Arguably, the catch by Foles was the highlight of his whole night. His longest completion was only 18 yards.
It’s not that every throw Foles made was poor or even sub-par. He actually had a lot of solid throws, especially to Agholor, who was his favorite target with Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins out. But the team’s gameplan appeared to be mostly focused on short passes mixed in with a healthy dose of the run game. And that’s where Pederson deserves some credit.
Pederson showed last year that he knows how to gameplan this team to put Foles in the best situation to succeed without putting too much pressure on him. Sure, the game against the Falcons (this year or last year) wasn’t particularly pretty, but that’s the nature of the NFL. A lot of wins are going to be ugly.
Pederson and Howie Roseman have surrounded Foles with an incredible group of talent, both offensively and defensively, that allows for some mistakes from Foles without torpedoing the game. Last year’s playoff game against the Falcons was ugly too, and Foles didn’t throw a touchdown in that game either. By looking at either of his stat lines, it doesn’t exactly scream “dominant performance,” and that’s completely OK.
This Eagles defense is insanely talented, especially around the red zone and in the last two minutes of a half, and the coaches know how to manage the game to play to Foles’ strengths. Foles has a keen ability to minimize turnovers and mistakes, something that I think some fans and critics take for granted. That’s what helped got the Eagles a Super Bowl ring in the first place.
The fact that the Eagles were able to win a game in which Foles threw no touchdowns and only 117 yards against a projected playoff team is incredible. Among full games he’s played, it was Foles’ fewest passing yards in a game, much less in a game he actually won.
It’s typical to see some rust in the first week of the season. Almost nobody is going to have their best game Week 1. And with Carson Wentz possibly going to miss more games, the Eagles will need Foles continue to improve and at least not lay an egg.
It’s time to keep trusting Pederson when it comes to these gameplans. I think he knows what he’s doing.
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