The Eagles had something to prove in Tampa. Not that they could win on the road – or even win, period. It wasn’t anything that they had to prove to coaches, fans or media. It was something they had to prove to themselves; that in a season riddled with injuries, a rookie back-up QB could lead his team to victory. That another young rookie is fast becoming a running phenom. That yes, Philadelphia, there is a Next Year.
Prove it they did. In what began as a yawn-inducing first quarter, neither Eagle QB Nick Foles nor Tampa QB Josh Freeman could complete a pass – let alone get a first down. Through a course of three-and-out possessions, the Eagles finally managed a field goal. Then Foles rushed for ten yards for another seven. Freeman began to find his mark in the second half, throwing TDs to Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin.
21-10 late in the game. Foles drops back and lets one fly for 11 yards to Clay Harbor. 21-16. The Eagles needed two points to bring the game to within a field goal.
After a failed conversion, Eagles defense forced a Tampa Bay punt, and Foles marched downfield. With :02 left on the game clock, after converting a 4th and 5 with no time outs left, Foles spiked the ball to stop the clock. Foles had one more chance to get his first career NFL win. Foles rolled right, saw a wide-open Jerry Maclin, and hit him for the win.
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Foles looked as good as any NFL QB in this game. He was 32/45 for 381 yards and two TDs, and let’s not forget about that rushing TD he had in the first half. Bryce Brown could do nothing against the Tampa rushing defense, garnering only six yards total. His QB, though, had 27 yards rushing.
I think the Eagles have found a solid core to build a team around with Foles and Brown behind center.