In Relief of Vick, Nick Foles Leads Eagles to Win over Hapless Giants

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Nick Foles came up off the bench with two touchdown passes in Eagles win over the Giants.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Nick Foles came up off the bench with two touchdown passes in Eagles win over the Giants. Photo by Webster Riddick.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ.—If there was anything the Eagles learned about themselves in Sunday’s win over the New York Giants, the Birds, for all their troubles with scoring and defense this season, they are not as bad as  the team they beat at MetLife Stadium.

The Eagles (2-3) overcame the loss of their starting quarterback and took advantage of three Eli Manning interceptions to come away with a 36-21 win over the winless of Giants (0-5).

After Michael Vick left the game late in the second quarter with a hamstring injury in his left leg, backup quarterback Nick Foles filled the void well. He completed 16-of-25 passes for 197 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to give New York their fifth straight loss.

“Nick looked great, he played a great game,” Vick said at his locker after the game. “You know that’s what we expect out of Nick and that’s what Nick expects out of himself.”

Vick injured himself on a 13-yard run where he ran out of bounds and started grabbing his left leg. To that point, Vick had run the ball seven times for 79 yards—mostly on designed quarterback runs.  He completed six-of-14 passes for 105 yards.

On the Eagles last series of the first half, Vick played just one play and it was obvious that the sore hamstring was limiting his mobility and head coach Chip Kelly pulled him from the game.

It’s uncertain when Vick will be back. He said he hopes to be back next week.

“Yeah I’m hoping so,” Vick said. “I’ll work extremely hard. I’ve had this type of injury before. You’ve got to do certain things to get it back.”

Before leaving the game, Vick, thanks mostly to his running from the Eagles read option and a huge 56-yard pass to DeSean Jackson, had led the Eagles to a 16-7 lead after New York scored on its first possession of the game.  Running back LeSean McCoy scored the Eagles first touchdown of the game on a one-yard run.

Of course, Foles performance no doubt will bring about the requisite quarterback controversy in Philly.  Most of the questions focused on what Foles needed to do keep the job.   But Kelly sidestepped those questions and said he’s glad to have the luxury of  having a backup quarterback capable of starting.

“No matter where you are in this league, you have to make sure you have two quarterbacks that’s just the nature of this league,” Kelly said during his post-game press conference. “We’re fortunate that we do.”

Meanwhile, Foles was asked about he what he needed to do “win” with the starting job.  To his credit, Foles didn’t feed into the whole quarterback controversy.

“I’m not even thinking that way,” Foles said. “First that happened when Mike got hurt, I prayed for him, ‘Give him strength, God.’ My job was to go in there when Mike was hurt and get a win. I have a great team around me to help me do that. I don’t think that way.”

Even though he has been coaching one of the league’s worst defenses Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis had been saying that despite his teams lackluster performance throughout the season his team was getting better.

In this game, Davis saw his team have its ups and downs in this game and in the end, they played well enough to win. They forced four turnovers-interceptions and a fumble with one sack and they put a lot of pressure on Manning with a wide variety of blitzes.

“You can see yourself moving forward when guys do it more consistently,” Davis said. “You know sooner or later a day like today is going to happen when you have the turnovers. The ball does bounce your way, but it’s stacked on top of more guys playing technique, we’re playing together.”

After allowing the Giants to drive 62 yards and five plays that was capped by a five-yard run by running back David Wilson, the Eagles defense kept the Giants at bay until the third quarter.

But in tha third quarter, Manning and the Giants offense got hot and transformed a 19-7 halftime deficit into a 21-19 lead thanks to a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Rueben Randle.

That would be the last glimpse of glory for the Giants offense as the Eagles defense intercepted Manning three times-two of the picks led to Eagles touchdowns.  Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Boykin and Cary Williams came away Manning’s mistakes in the passing game.

“You talk to any of us upfront, we wanted to get more sacks, but hats off to the secondary, “ said left outside linebacker Connor Barwin. “We were making (Manning) run around a little bit and he made some decisions that he probably wants make. The secondary made great plays as far as catching the ball.”

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