Eagles

Eagles

Nick Foles didn't try to hide from it.

He was honest.

"I didn't play good enough," he said. "Absolutely. I've got to play cleaner."

The Eagles beat the Raiders, 19-10, on Christmas night at the Linc (see Roob's observations). They're 13-2 and clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If they keep winning, the next road game they play will be in Minnesota at Super Bowl LII. 

But if Foles plays like he did Monday night, they're not gonna get there.

After a four-touchdown game against the Giants last week, Foles simply wasn't good against the Raiders. With Carson Wentz watching from a box high above the field, Foles completed 19 of 38 passes with a touchdown and an interception for a passer rating of 59.4.

That's the lowest passer rating for Foles since his awful season in St. Louis and it's the lowest passer rating the Eagles have had this year (see report card). Wentz's lowest this season was 83.

"We're 13-2 and we still have a lot of room to improve," Foles said. "Sometimes games in the NFL go like this. I've been a part of games like this before. … It's something that we have to clean up because we can't go out there and do that and expect to win games."

 

Foles and the Eagles' offense came out pretty hot early, scoring a touchdown on their second drive of the game. But that was also their last touchdown of the game. They punted eight times, fumbled once and Foles threw a pick.

Last week, the offense bailed out the defense. This week, roles reversed.

All season, the Eagles have excelled on third downs and in the red zone. They were bad in both areas Monday. They were a paltry 1 for 14 on third downs and just 1 for 3 inside the red zone.

Torrey Smith pointed at self-inflicted wounds as the reason for the poor play on third downs.

"I think we put ourselves in tough situations," Smith said. "There aren't too many teams that are going to convert on 3rd-and-forever. Our key to success has been on 3rd-and-manageable."

Foles admitted he needs to be better on third downs. A big part of Wentz's success this season had been his ability to create something on even 3rd-and-long plays. Foles doesn't have the same type of playmaking ability, so he just can't afford to be inaccurate.

There were several throws from Foles Monday night that were just off (see breakdown). He listed a few of them during his postgame press conference. A couple to Zach Ertz, that one to Alshon Jeffery.

While Ertz put up numbers Monday, the Eagles' receivers combined to catch five passes for 40 yards. Alshon Jeffery didn't have a single reception. Foles said he has to work to make sure Jeffery is more involved in the offense.

The last time Foles played the Raiders, he threw seven touchdown passes and his cleats ended up in Canton. This time … not so much.

"You always want to win playing the perfect game," Foles said. "You always want to win throwing seven touchdowns. That's how you want to win. This game was totally different than the last time I played Oakland. But in the NFL and in a team sport, you want to find a way to win. The good teams find ways to win. We did tonight."

At least the offense ended the game with some momentum. Foles and his unit did enough, gaining 21 yards, to put Jake Elliott in field goal range for the game-winning kick to send everyone home (somewhat) happy.

Even with next week's game rendered meaningless, it certainly seems like Foles could use the game time with his receivers. While Smith said they could get on the same page with practice reps, head coach Doug Pederson said with just two quarterbacks on the roster, it's likely Foles will play next week.

Fans will be hoping for a better performance to ease their fears as the playoffs approach.

"We're confident in Nick," Ertz said. "We just have to play better as an offense altogether. It doesn't fall solely on Nick."