By Kevin McGuire
Nick Foles had a performance worthy of igniting the quarterback debate in Philadelphia as he led the Eagles to a road win at Tampa Bay, 31-20. It was the second win in a row for the Eagles and Foles has played a key role in both wins. With the win the Eagles pulled even with a 3-3 record and remain in first place in the NFC East.
Here is how the grades for this week’s performance look:
Quarterback Grade: A
Filling in for Mike Vick, who was available as an emergency option if needed, Nick Foles turned in a superior performance to lead the Eagles to a win. Foles completed 22 of 41 pass attempts for 296 yards and three touchdowns against a Tampa Bay defense ranked fifth in the league against the pass. His first two touchdown passes gave the Eagles the lead at a time when the game was back and forth, and his third touchdown pass, padded the lead for the Eagles in the fourth quarter. Foles took advantage of the starting opportunity and has made a solid case for an ongoing quarterback competition moving forward.
Offense Grade: A-
LeSean McCoy rushed for a game high 116 yards, Riley Cooper came through with 120 receiving yards on four receptions and DeSean Jackson had two touchdown receptions. McCoy also got involved in the passing game with 55 receiving yards. In all, eight different Eagles caught a pass from Nick Foles. The Eagles had one turnover in the game, a lost fumble by McCoy, but protected the football well on the road against a desperate team. The Eagles also put up 425 yards, picking up eight first downs by running the football and 12 through the air and converting seven of 14 third-down attempts. The offense looked sharp early but hit a wall in the first half. But they kept plugging away and got back in a rhythm on the road, which is sometimes not easy to do.
Defense Grade: B+
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon picked up 273 yards and two touchdown passes against the Eagles defense, but more often than not the Eagles defense managed to control him. Tampa Bay worked a 90-yard drive over 16 plays in the third quarter but the Eagles held the Bucs to just a field goal, which should be considered a victory after being on the field so long. The Eagles sacked Glennon twice and deflected seven passes while Bradley Fletcher picked up the only turnover of the game for the Eagles with an interception. DeMeco Ryans led all players with 12 tackles.
Special Teams Grade: A-
Alex Henery was only asked to kick one field goal, which he converted from 24 yards late in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game in favor of the Eagles. Henery was also four-for-four on extra point attempts. Punter Donnie Jones, hurt left foot and all, booted five punts for 249 yards, averaging 49.8 yards per attempt. The Eagles did not get much out of the kick return game, with Damaris Johnson picking up 60 yards between four combined kickoff and punt returns.
Overall Evaluation: B+
Things did not start off well but the Eagles put together the so-called full team effort. The offense started slowly but ended up having a really good game. The defense took their lumps but got past them to do their part as well. From a coaching perspective, the Eagles were prepared well for a tough road game against a team with nothing to lose. Perhaps more could have been done to rattle a rookie quarterback, but the Eagles waited for the rookie to make a mistake and took advantage of it with an interception to stall a drive heading for the red zone. As a result the Eagles hold their position atop the NFC East standings and are back at .500 with a 3-3 record.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.