Foles still hears about 1 bad game vs. Cowboys

Nick Foles has a new nickname that’s appropriate this time of

year: Saint Nick.

Foles hardly resembles jolly, old Santa Claus, but he’s given

fans of the Philadelphia Eagles plenty of gifts this year. They

want one more Sunday.

A victory over the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) would clinch the NFC

East title for the Eagles (9-6) and secure the No. 3 seed in the

conference. It’s already been a remarkable turnaround under rookie

coach Chip Kelly after a 4-12 finish last year.

But this story is far from complete. For all of his

accomplishments, Foles is constantly reminded about the first time

the Eagles played the Cowboys.

Both teams were 3-3 when Dallas came to Philadelphia, shut down

Kelly’s high-flying offense and knocked Foles out of the game with

a concussion at the end of the third quarter. Foles was 11 of 29

for 80 yards in the 17-3 loss, a dismal performance in only his

second start after replacing an injured Michael Vick.

”I know everybody is going to dwell on last time, but this game

isn’t the last game,” Foles said.

Foles returned from the concussion two weeks later and threw

seven touchdown passes to tie an NFL record in a victory at

Oakland. He leads the league with a passer rating of 118.8, which

is third-highest in the history of the NFL. He’s thrown 25 TD

passes to only two interceptions. He’s led the Eagles to a 7-2

record in nine starts and has them on the verge of going worst to

first in the division.

Yet, he’s still asked about that first game against Dallas on

Oct. 20. See, beating the Cowboys is an obsession in Philadelphia.

It’s almost equivalent to a playoff game every time they face the

boys with the stars on their helmet.

”If I look into every little thing that I did and try to break

it down, I’ll drive myself crazy as well,” Foles said. ”We’ve

been asked that question several times and everyone wants an

answer, but I think the answer is that we had a bad day. We did not

play well, but from that game we’ve grown together as a team.”

The offense has been nearly unstoppable with Foles under center

since. Foles is having one of the best seasons in franchise

history. The offense has set team records with eight games of

30-plus points and six games of at least 450 total yards. They’re

22 points and 79 yards away from setting club records for most

points and most yards.

So, maybe that loss to Dallas didn’t hurt them too much after

all.

”We use that game as not necessarily fuel, but it was

character-building,” Foles said. ”Tough games like that, tough

things in life, you face adversity and it hurts. You don’t feel

good. You feel it in your heart; it’s not fun. But you learn how to

get better. You overcome obstacles and you grow together as a team,

and that’s the beauty of it. We kept rallying and we kept sticking

together.”

There were critics who thought Foles folded under pressure the

first time against the Cowboys. Though it was only Week 7, first

place was on the line, and he was still trying to prove himself

worthy of being the starter.

”I don’t think whatever the setting is, is too big for Nick,”

offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. ”He didn’t play very well.

I don’t think any of us played well the first time we played

Dallas. I looked back on it now and I don’t recognize some of what

happened. We dropped balls; we weren’t on the same page with who we

blocked. Certainly Nick had some inaccuracies. We did a poor job

coaching and playing.

”I think we’re a different team now.”

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