Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Foles Defied the Odds in Win vs. Falcons

Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Foles, Atlanta Falcons, Lane Johnson
(James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

It wasn’t pretty, but Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles somehow figured out a way to win his 2018 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Usually, when a quarterback tosses for just over 100 yards with no touchdowns, an interception and finishes with a passer rating well below 60.0, that signal-caller winds up on the losing end of an outcome.

Not for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, however, who certainly wasn’t stellar despite his team’s 18-12 victory in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Foles’ line on the night? A measly 19-of-34 for 117 yards, zero touchdowns, an interception, a fumble, being sacked twice and a passer rating of 50.7.

And get this — Foles averaged only 3.4 yards per attempt last night. Just to compare, the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco finished dead last in the NFL last season by averaging 5.7 yards per pass.

OK, it was just one game for Foles. Combine that with the fact how ugly both teams’ offenses played throughout, one has to give the fill-in Eagles quarterback a bit of a pass, right? After all, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan wasn’t much better on the night, posting a turnover of his own and finishing with a passer rating of 57.4 in the contest.

Short passing was one of the elements we required for a Foles-Eagles win in Week 1. That happened, and then some.

Granted, Foles’ efforts weren’t helped by tight end Zach Ertz, who had two dropped passes on the night.

Despite all this, however, Foles managed to win in a number of other ways. And those were essential in ensuring Philadelphia started 2018 off 1-0.

Case in point, the Eagles converted eight of their 16 third-down attempts. Foles was a big reason why, especially considering he went 5-of-6 in the red zone and managed to pick up three first downs in the process. And one of those passes within the red zone — an 18-yard pass to Ertz at the 6:00 mark of the third quarter — helped set up Philly’s first touchdown on the night.

Same with a 3rd-and-8 pass in the fourth quarter that led to Philadelphia’s go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

“No one freaks out, everyone takes it easy,” Foles said after the game, via NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank. “We keep looking at the pictures. We keep talking about the plays. We go out there and we execute. We stay calm in the huddle and just (continue) to work. When we get behind the chains, just continuing to work.”

Well, Foles sure did.

The last time Foles has lost a game in which he started was back in Week 17 of the 2017 season — an all but meaningless 0-6 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

And, of course, Eagles fans know what he’s done since.

Absent from the whole analysis, however, is just how effective Philadelphia’s defense was throughout the game. This group frustrated Ryan all night, pressuring him to the tune of four sacks and 13 quarterback hits. The Eagles wouldn’t have won this game without the defense performing like it’s 2017 self.

But Philly could have lost the game with that defensive effort anyway.

Foles didn’t win the game, for sure. Yet he did enough to ensure his team wouldn’t lose it either.