By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—Nick Foles doesn’t irritate easily. He’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of a guy, with a searing competitive streak lying just beneath his placid veneer. In other words, on game days, Foles wants to surgically rip your throat out with a smile.
But there has been something that’s been gnawing at him. The Eagles’ second-year quarterback won’t admit it, though it vexes him each time he hears about the drab performance he had in the Eagles’ 17-3 loss to Dallas on Oct. 20 at Lincoln Financial Field.
“I know everybody is going to dwell on last time, but this game isn’t the last game,” Foles said.
No, it just seems like the only game anyone is willing to fixate on this “Dallas Week,” where the Eagles season is at stake in the showdown Sunday night for the NFC East title.
What appears to be lost is that Foles has gone 6-1 since his first encounter with Dallas this season. He’s thrown 19 touchdown and just two interceptions since then. He’s completed 134 of 201 passes (66-percent) since then. He’s amassed 2,006 yards passing, averaging 286.5 yards a game since then.
He’s a leading reason why the Eagles have made a major turnaround in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season, with a huge push from Chip Kelly.
And though Foles may not show too much outward emotion, inside, you have the impression Foles would like to step on the Cowboys, spurred by the Oct. 20 debacle. He told Kelly after the Dallas game, “I’ve never played like that.”
This week, Foles has been reminded more than a few times that he did that day.
“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.”
Guided by Foles, the Eagles are on the brink of franchise single-season records for points scored in a season, needing 22 points to break the 439-point mark set in 2010—the last time the Eagles won the NFC East and finished with double-digit victories—and need 79 yards to achieve a franchise mark for total yards in a season (they currently sit at 6,308 total yards. The team record is 6,386 total yards in 2011).
Over the last seven games, Foles has a 126.6 passer rating, which is the highest ever by an Eagle over a seven-game span, topping Donovan McNabb’s 115.7 in 2004. His 118.8 rating this season ranks third in NFL history behind Aaron Rodgers (122.5 in 2011) and Peyton Manning (121.1 in 2004). He surpassed a 100 rating eight times this season, tying Ron Jaworski (1980) for the second-most in franchise history. (McNabb holds the record with nine games in 2004). His total of 25 touchdown passes this season is tied for the sixth-highest single-season total in team history.
That’s all he’s done.
On Sunday, there’s a feeling Dallas has some payback coming its way from this unlikely hero. And Foles would like you to believe he’s not using the Cowboys game as passing fuel. But something certainly awoke him.
“Tough games like that, tough things in life, you face adversity and it hurts,” Foles said. “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.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.