Even though the Eagles squeaked out a win last Thursday night, Nick Foles didn’t play well. In fact, he was really bad. He missed throws, threw an interception and averaged just 3.44 yards per attempt.
That won’t happen this Sunday in Tampa Bay.
I completely expect Foles to have a big bounce-back game against the Bucs.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. It starts with his extended reps. This will be his second week getting the full complement of reps with the first-team offense, which is a bigger deal for him than some other quarterbacks.
You might remember back during training camp, Foles and Carson Wentz were splitting reps 50-50. That was an attempt to get them both ready to play in Week 1, but I think it hurt Foles. I can’t blame the coaching staff for doing it; the possibility of Wentz’s being ready for Week 1 was worth the risk. But it didn’t do Foles any favors.
“If anything, it might affect timing a little bit with guys,” said head coach Doug Pederson, who added that Foles had a good week of practice before the Atlanta game and credited the Falcons’ defense for that game.
The Eagles still don’t have Alshon Jeffery for Week 2, but Foles will have his other offensive weapons. Guys like Nelson Agholor and Corey Clement and Jay Ajayi and Jason Peters and Darren Sproles and Mike Wallace all missed practice time or game time in the summer. They’re all back now.
“He’s into Week 2 and [Foles is] getting all the reps,” Pederson said. “I think there’s something to say about that. Much like last season at the end of the year, the more he played and practiced with the guys, the more comfortable he got. I think we’re trending, obviously, in that direction.”
2. This is what Foles does. He has bad games and sometimes follows them with really good games. Last Thursday was his 10th career game with a passer rating lower than 60. Aside from three games during that miserable year in St. Louis, Foles has always bounced back with passer ratings of at least 86 in the next game that matters.
Remember Foles’ seven-touchdown performance? Guess what he did in his previous game. His passer rating was 46.2 against Dallas and his next game in Oakland he tied an NFL record for touchdown tosses.
Foles even did it last season. He finished the regular season with a dud against the Raiders and then a bad start in the regular-season finale. From there, he warmed up against Atlanta and was white-hot against the Vikings and Patriots.
3. It’s been a while since Foles has played at Raymond James Stadium, but he has a good history there. He’s 2-0 in Tampa Bay. He’s completed 54 of 82 passes (66 percent) for 677 yards, five TDs and zero INTs on the road against the Bucs.
Even Pederson admitted fond memories in an opposing stadium can put a quarterback in a good headspace for a game that comes even years later.
4. The Bucs’ defense didn’t look very good in Week 1. Sure, Ryan Fitzpatrick somehow powered that offense to 48 points, but the Saints put up 40 too. Not saying Foles is Drew Brees, but he’ll have a chance to do some damage.
The Bucs just put Vernon Hargreaves on IR. And their other top corner, Brent Grimes, has been dealing with a groin injury and missed Week 1. Look for Foles to try to push the ball downfield against Tampa.
It’s kind of funny. I was more worried about Foles in Week 1 than I am heading into this game, even after watching him struggle last week. There are just too many reasons I think Foles is going to have a big game.