By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles has the Eagles rolling for the second straight week as they flew into Raymond James Stadium and spread their wings completely over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, without Michael Vick, for a decisive victory, behind the backup signal caller’s four touchdown outing, 30-21.
“I thought Nick did a really nice job, really, really happy with how we performed within our offense,” said Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly in Monday’s press conference. “Did a good job of taking what the defense gave us. There were a lot of times he got us out of some bad plays and into some good ones with some decisions he made, so we were really happy with how Nick played.”
Foles ran for a score and worked the field for three touchdown passes, largely to wide receiver Riley Cooper for big plays, finishing the day with four receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. It was as if Cooper was targeted more Sunday than the previous games.
“No, we didn’t (target Cooper more). We ran the same offense, did the same things,” said Kelly. “Riley’s been open a lot. We just haven’t thrown the ball to him. That’s one thing when you look at the production out of a receiver is we always look at catches and drops, you know, and I think we had him for two drops on the season so far, and I think when the ball has been thrown to Riley, he’s had an opportunity and he’s done it and the ball was thrown to him more on Sunday and he took advantage of it.
“I know there’s a stat out there about targets, but targets are whose ever the receiver around when the ball is thrown,” he continued. “So if I threw the ball out of bounds right now and Howard [Eskin] is the only guy over there, it’s a target for Howard. But if it’s 14 feet over his head, that’s not the receiver’s fault.
“So we’ve been happy with Riley; when the ball has been throw to him, he’s caught it and he proved it again on Sunday for us. We have had confidence in him the whole way and I was happy he could show that.”
Cooper’s impact was huge for the Eagles, but wide receiver DeSean Jackson set the tone for the passing game with his six catches for 64 yards with an early 12-yard touchdown to help provide an answer midway through the second quarter and another score of 36-yards to lay the cushion needed to help seal the game in the fourth.
The Eagles kept the Bucs (1-5) off balance throughout the contest. The Bucs were exchanging blows with the Eagles (3-3) in the first half as they entered the second half with a 17-14 lead. But patience was the key for the Eagles’ success Sunday as Foles did not force throws for the sake of Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense, but took the holes provided the Bucs’ zone and occasional man-to-man defense.
The Eagles kept the talented Buccaneers’ defense honest by spreading them until the patient attack of Philadelphia’s offense took its toll on them, and was held to three points in the second half.
The only sure thing the Eagles had all season was their ground game led by running back LeSean McCoy who finished with 116 yards off 25 carries. McCoy’s ability allowed Foles to not feel pressure and the defense looked to be on the same page.
Despite two wins in a row by Foles, Kelly is not discussing anything about his quarterback situation because, for him, health rules the decisions.
“Until we know what the health is I’m not saying what anybody or anybody is,” said Kelly. “All of my decisions are made whether it’s James Casey with a groin or Mike (Vick) with a hamstring or Chris Polk with a shoulder. All our decisions on who is going to play is based on health.”
The Eagles’ victory was huge for two reasons; they will continue to be on top of the NFC East and they survived their three-game road trip by going 2-1 during that span, which will allow them to be in control late in the season.
Game Notes by courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles
-Foles threw for 296 yards and accounted for four touchdowns (a career-high three passing and one rushing). His 133.3 rating was the best of his career and he has had back-to-back games with a rating over 100 … His 47-yard touchdown pass to WR Riley Cooper was the longest pass of his career … In two career games against Tampa Bay, Foles has amassed 677 passing yards and seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) with no interceptions.
-McCoy racked up 116 rushing yards, his third 100-yard game this season and the 15th of his career. The Eagles are 12-3 in those games … McCoy’s 630 rushing yards and 871 scrimmage yards are the most ever by an Eagle through the first six games of the season … With 4,496 career rushing yards, McCoy surpassed Randall Cunningham for fifth, and with 6,325 career yards from scrimmage, he passed Keith Byars for ninth on the team’s all-time lists … McCoy is the only player to exceed 100 rushing yards against the Buccaneers this season.
-The Eagles became just the second team in NFL history to accumulate at least 1,500 passing and 1,050 rushing yards through the first six games of the season (1954 Rams – 1,612 passing, 1,136 rushing) … Their 2,699 total net yards are the highest total in franchise history and the sixth-highest in NFL history through six games … They also became the third team in NFL history to pile up at least 400 yards of total offense in each of their first six games (the 2007 Patriots hold the league record, doing so in their first 8 contests and the 1983 Chargers did so in their first seven contests) … This year marks the first time the Eagles have ever had six straight games with at least 400 yards.
-Jackson had six receptions for 64 yards and a career-high two touchdowns … Jackson has a touchdown reception in four of six games this season … With 5,374 career receiving yards, Jackson moved past Bobby Walston and into sixth place in team history. He also tied Fred Barnett (308) for eighth on the team’s all-time receptions list … Jackson currently has 25 career touchdowns of 25-plus yards, passing Timmy Brown for third place in team annals … With 35 career touchdowns, Jackson eclipsed Calvin Williams for 12th in team history … The Eagles are 22-5 in regular season games that Jackson catches a touchdown.
-The Eagles scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time this season … Cooper led the team with 120 receiving yards, marking his first-career 100-yard game, which included a career-long 47-yard touchdown reception … The Eagles converted two of three red zone opportunities into touchdowns against a Tampa Bay team that came into the game ranking second in the NFL by allowing touchdowns on just four of 14 previous trips … With 278 career receptions, wide receiver Jason Avant supplanted Duce Staley for 13th in team history.
-Cornerback Bradley Fletcher picked up his first interception with the team. Eagles cornerbacks have already accounted for five interceptions in 2013 … Linebacker Connor Barwin registered his third sack of the season … Defensive tackle Bennie Logan has a sack in back-to-back games.
-The Eagles have won their last three games against the Buccaneers dating back to 2009 and are the first team to score more than 23 points against them this season … The Eagles have scored at least 30 points in four of six games … The Eagles went 7-14 on third down and are 45.9% this year, placing them fifth in the NFL following their game today. It’s also the team’s highest percentage since 1970 when the statistic was tracked.
“Like” LockerReport.com on Facebook today