OK. So, Nick Foles now knows what he has to do to wrestle the starting quarterback job from injured Michael Vick.
According to Chip Kelly, he simply needs to complete 100 of 100 passes and throw 27 touchdown passes and he’ll be the man.
Foles turned in a solid performance Sunday after Vick got hurt, completing 16 of 25 passes for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was 6-for-7 for 55 yards and a touchdown on third down. Five of those six completions were for first downs. He attempted just one pass in the red zone. That was his five-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.
He entered the game late in the second quarter with the Eagles facing a second-and-10 at their own seven and cooly completed 7 of 8 passes, including a perfectly thrown 21-yard completion to DeSean Jackson with four seconds left in the half to set up an Alex Henery field goal.
He did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket and buying time on a 22-yard completion to Jason Avant after the Giants went ahead, 21-19, late in the third quarter. That pass kick-started another drive that resulted in a Henery field goal that gave the Eagles the lead back.
His 25-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Brent Celek was an outstanding throw and a terrific call by Chip Kelly. The Eagles had 12 personnel in the game with both tight ends lined up on the left side of the line. Foles ran a play-fake to LeSean McCoy then bootlegged to his left and set himself to throw.
Celek faked a block, slipped off the line and headed for the end zone. Giants safety Ryan Mundy, who was responsible for Celek, was a step slow in deciphering the play and never quite caught up to the Eagles tight end. Foles put just the right amount of air under the pass and put it right in Celek’s hands.
The Eagles’ blitz wasn’t very effective in their three losses to the Chargers, Chiefs and Broncos. Philip Rivers, Alex Smith and Peyton Manning combined for a 123.6 passer rating and a 77.3 completion percentage when the Eagles blitzed.
But they had a lot better luck Sunday against Peyton’s kid brother Eli. The Eagles blitzed Manning on 24 of his 53 drop-backs. Manning completed just 8 of 24 passes for 98 yards and two interceptions against the blitz. A look at how the Eagles’ rushed Manning and what he did:
Rushed 3 (2): 1-1=6, 1 TD/0 INT, 1 sack
Rushed 4 (29): 15-28=206, 0/2, 0 sacks
Rushed 5 (14): 4-15=74, 0/1, 0 sacks
Rushed 6 (8): 4-8=48, 1/0, 0 sacks
On the first of the Eagles’ three fourth-quarter interceptions, they sent four rushers after Manning, including linebacker Trent Cole, who had lined up as an end, and cornerback Brandon Boykin, who came off the edge. Both Cole and Boykin got to Manning, forcing a hurried throw that ricocheted off the helmet of center Jim Cordle and into the hands of linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
Cole was lucky he didn’t get flagged for a personal foul on the play. He accidentally raked Manning’s helmet with his hand, which is a penalty, whether it was intentional or not. But the zebras missed it.
On the Eagles’ second interception of Manning, they rushed five, including inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans. But Ryans quickly peeled off and picked up running back Brandon Jacob as he came out of the backfield. Defensive end Fletcher Cox got to Manning and forced a hurried throw to Victor Cruz that Boykin made an incredible play on.
BY THE NUMBERS
--LeSean McCoy had five runs for losses against the Giants. In the first four games, he had three. Twelve of his 20 runs against the Giants gained two yards or less.
--Michael Vick didn’t complete a pass in the first quarter. He was 0-for-6. He did rush for 52 yards and three first downs in the period, though.
--Eight of Vick’s 12 pass attempts were out of his hand in three seconds or less, compared to 16 of 25 of Nick Foles’ throws. Foles’ 25-yard touchdown toss to Brent Celek was out of his hand in 3.90 seconds. His five-yard scoring pass to DeSean Jackson: 1.52 seconds.
--Vick completed 2 of 4 passes in the red zone Sunday. For the season, he’s 5-for-19 with two touchdown passes and three sacks inside the 20. He doesn’t have a red zone interception, but does have one red-zone fumble (against the Redskins).
SPOTLIGHT ON. . . Jason Kelce
The Eagles center had one of his toughest days as a pro. Giants defensive tackle Shaun Rogers had two early tackles for losses at Kelce’s expense. The 6-4, 350-pounder beat Kelce with what looked like a swim move on the Eagles’ second possession and dropped Michael Vick for a two-yard loss on a first-down play at the Giants 29-yard line. Early in the second quarter, Rogers again beat Kelce and tackled LeSean McCoy for a three-yard loss on a first-down play.
Two plays after getting beat for the second time by Rogers, Kelce got beat by ex-Eagle Mike Patterson, who brought down McCoy for a six-yard loss.
Kelce also had a hand in the one and only sack of Nick Foles in the third quarter when he and left guard Evan Mathis were unable to stop another ex-Eagle defensive tackle, Cullen Jenkins, who teamed with Mathias Kiwanuka on a three-yard sack.
THIS AND THAT
--Vick tried to get DeSean Jackson involved in the game early. He targeted Jackson with his first three passes. All three were incomplete. Jackson was targeted five times by Vick and had two catches for 62 yards, including a 56-yarder that set up McCoy’s second-quarter touchdown run. He was targeted seven times by Foles, catching five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
--The Eagles’ offensive line was nailed for three more false start penalties (Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre). The Eagles already have 10 false start penalties in their first five games, including seven by the offensive line and three by Peters.
--Peters had a terrific block on Jason Pierre-Paul on Vick’s 34-yard run in the first quarter. Pierre-Paul had backed up Peters with a bull rush, but then Peters countered and put him on the ground, giving Vick room to run.
--This wasn’t one of Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s better days. On the Eagles’ second possession, he curiously opted to accept a holding penalty on the Eagles rather than make them punt on a fourth-and-four near midfield. Vick bolted for 34 yards on the next play and the Eagles ended up getting a field goal on the drive. Later, Coughlin used two timeouts on one play. He used one so he could see whether a ruled 11-yard completion to McCoy hit the ground, then lost another on the replay challenge.
To Chip Kelly for not crawling into the fetal position late in the first half when Foles replaced Vick with 1:25 left and the ball on their own seven yard-line. A lot of coaches, including Andy Reid, would’ve run the ball a couple of times and been happy to take a nine-point lead into the locker room. But Kelly gave Foles the green light to throw. He proceeded to complete 7 of 8 passes and drove the Eagles down close enough for an Alex Henery field goal.
--Zach Ertz’s playing time continues to increase. The rookie tight end played a season-high 33 snaps Sunday. The last two games, he’s played 42.1 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps. In the first three games, he played just 24.5 percent. The Eagles only played 12 personnel (1 back, 2 tight ends, 2 wide receivers) on 15 of their 77 offensive plays Sunday. The rest of Ertz’s snaps came in 11 personnel (1 back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers) packages as he rotated with Brent Celek. Ertz and Celek combined for five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.
--Wide receiver Jeff Maehl played a season-high 20 snaps against the Giants. Most of them came at the expense of Riley Cooper, who played 62. Cooper played 97 percent of the snaps in the first three games, but has seen that drop to 79.6 the last two weeks. Neither Cooper nor Maehl had a reception Sunday.
--James Casey played just three offensive snaps Sunday. That brings his five-game snap total to 21.
--Backup offensive lineman Allen Barbre played four snaps, replacing right tackle Lane Johnson late in the third quarter for part of a series.
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