During a magical 2013 season playing for first-year coach Chip Kelly, Nick Foles threw only two interceptions in 10 starts. Of quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts last season, only Chicago’s Josh McCown threw fewer.
So throwing two interceptions in the Philadelphia Eagles’ first preseason game last week at Chicago made Foles sick to his stomach. Nothing kills momentum more than a turnover, and one of Kelly’s requirements for his starting quarterback is good decision-making.
Foles didn’t do that against the Bears. But he did Friday night against New England.
Playing four series against the Patriots -- the first was just one play that ended when fringe receiver Ifeanyi Momah lost a fumble after making an 8-yard catch -- Foles completed eight of 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Working without his top two wide receivers, Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, Foles leaned on tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. The second-year Ertz caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that ended Foles’ night, and Celek finished with two catches for 45 yards.
Afterward, Foles was pleased that he had a bounce-back game after that shaky performance against the Bears.
“I mean, you know, human nature is that if you have a bad game, you want to have a good one the next game,” Foles said after the Eagles fell 42-35 to the Patriots. “You don’t want to have a bad game again. But you know, going into the Bears game, I felt good. I made a couple mistakes that I really focused on this week. And it was good getting back to practice and we were fortunate to where we practiced against the Patriots. So I was able to go against a different defense all week with my guys, and I felt good out there.
“And I think a big thing in this game is, we can’t turn over the ball, and we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. You know, that really hurts us.”
Foles rarely shot himself in the foot last season, which is why he was able to wrestle the starting job away from Michael Vick midseason. Kelly was pleased to see Foles excel after a little early adversity this preseason.
“Yeah, I thought he bounced back,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately the first play of the game we fumbled and couldn't get them off the field, so it took awhile to get back into rhythm. I thought when he got back out there, I was pleased with how he performed and how he moved those guys down the field a little bit. It’s better, obviously, than the Chicago game in terms of his and that whole first group’s overall performance.”
The Eagles players have the day off Saturday and then return to practice Sunday. Kelly said he expects Cooper, who has a foot injury, to practice and said that Maclin, who is nursing a hamstring injury, might practice.
Philadelphia’s next preseason game is next Thursday against Pittsburgh at Lincoln Financial Field.