Nothing quiets a quarterback controversy quite like wins. But 19
touchdowns and zero interceptions certainly helps, too.
Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles go for their fifth
straight victory Sunday against the NFC North-leading Detroit
Lions, an opponent which could present his toughest starting
“He’s been a good decision type guy,” Detroit safety Glover Quin
said of Foles. “Not making mistakes and keeping his team in the
The Lions (7-5) head to Philadelphia after an extended break
following their best defensive effort of the year in a 40-10 win
over Green Bay on Thanksgiving. It was the fewest points they’ve
surrendered in nearly two years, and the Packers’ 126 yards of
offense were the lowest by a Detroit opponent since Cincinnati had
95 on Nov. 22, 1992.
“It’s just a performance we always believed we could have,”
defensive tackle C.J. Mosley said. “… We’ve got to string
performances like this together.”
Detroit has achieved season highs in sacks in consecutive weeks
with seven against the Packers and four against Tampa Bay on Nov.
While the Lions’ pass rush will be on Foles’ mind, the
signal-caller is no longer burdened with an uncertain future.
“Because I’ve been asked the question a thousand times, so I
will say he is the starting quarterback for the next thousand years
here,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “If I’m wrong next week, then
I’m wrong next week.”
The constant questions might not always have easy answers, but
Foles’ play has simplified Kelly’s short-term decision. The
second-year quarterback is 5-1 as a starter this season, and he’s
thrown all but three of the Eagles’ passes over the four-game
winning streak after the team had been regularly shuffling at the
His season passer rating of 125.2 is tops in the NFL. Foles is
one away from tying Peyton Manning’s record of 20 TD passes to
start a season without an interception, which was set this season.
He’s already set an Eagles’ record for most passes without an
interception (233), snapping teammate Michael Vick’s previous mark
of 224 set in 2010.
“I learned through making mistakes and throwing interceptions in
high school, in college, and in practice,” Foles said. “I try to
push it in practice and test my boundaries and see what throws are
capable against certain defenses. It’s through a lot of mistakes
that I’ve learned that.”
The Eagles (7-5) kept pace with Dallas atop the NFC East with
last Sunday’s 24-21 home win over Arizona. Foles tossed three
touchdowns, completing 21 of 34 attempts for 237 yards.
“He’s getting better and better and making good decisions,”
It’s not just Foles. Philadelphia has turned the ball over once
in the last four games while taking it away nine times. The drastic
swing has corrected its turnover differential to plus-7.
The Eagles will try to win three straight at home in a single
season for the first time since 2010. The victory over Arizona came
a week after they beat Washington to snap a franchise-worst,
10-game home losing streak.
That slide began with a 26-23 loss to the Lions on Oct. 14,
2012, with Matthew Stafford besting Vick and throwing for 311 yards
in his first career matchup with Philadelphia. The Eagles had won
the previous six meetings.
Detroit overcame two more interceptions by Stafford last week,
giving him 10 in five games since Oct. 27 – tied with Cincinnati’s
Andy Dalton for most in the league.
The Lions have committed 17 turnovers during that stretch while
forcing just four, though they have three wins in that span and all
have been against playoff contenders. They have a one-game division
lead on Chicago, which hosts Dallas on Monday night, and own the
tiebreaker over the Bears.
“We just need to take better care of the football,” said
Stafford, facing a Philadelphia defense which has seven INTs in the
last four games. “If we can eliminate that, I feel real good about
where we are.”
Detroit ran for a season-best 241 yards on Thanksgiving, inching
closer to its first division title since 1993 after losing
consecutive games for the first time this year.
“It’s easy when you lose a couple games in a row, particularly
the fashion that we lost, for people to say, ‘Here we go again,'”
coach Jim Schwartz said. “I’m sure there were some people that were
saying that, but they weren’t on our sideline.”
Reggie Bush had 182 total yards last week, including 117 on the
ground, as the Lions improved to 5-0 when he runs for at least
They’re 4-0 against NFC East opponents since the start of