No Carson, no problem: Nick Foles keeps Eagles on winning track

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- That should calm some nerves.

Quarterback Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes with no interceptions in his first start replacing the injured Carson Wentz, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 34-29 comeback win over the New York Giants. The Eagles are the first team since the 2011 Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn) to have different starting QBs throw four-plus passing TDs in back-to-back weeks, according to stats provided by the NFL.

"I thought he played well -- really well," said coach Doug Pederson. "I'm sure there's some things he'd like to do over obviously, each game is going to be that way, but I thought he handled himself extremely well."

It wasn't easy -- the defense had a tough time against one of the lowliest offenses in football and needed a stand in the waning moments to hold off the Giants -- but the Eagles escaped with a victory and captured a first-round bye in the process. A win in either of their final two regular-season games -- they close with home games against the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys -- would ensure they'll have home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

To take advantage of that playoff positioning, the Eagles can't afford a dramatic drop-off in quarterback play. Foles offered some assurance in that regard, even if it was against the league's 30th-ranked defense. Foles, after all, was coming in relatively cold. He hadn't started a game since November 2016 and hadn't played any meaningful snaps in over a year outside of last week's relief appearance against the Los Angeles Rams when Wentz was lost to an ACL tear.

Yet Foles came off as generally poised and in command of Pederson's system. That was evident from the jump. He led Philly on a scoring drive on its opening possession, which he finished off with a TD pass to Alshon Jeffery in the back of the end zone. Jeffery said he was Foles' last read on the play.

"We didn't play our best. We didn't play up to how we normally do, come out and dominate, but at the same time it's the Giants and Eagles rivalry," said Jeffery. "Things get a little tough and hectic. But Nick did a great job. He played a hell of a game."

Foles showed good awareness and movement in the pocket, including a nice sidestep of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to evade the rush on a pass downfield to Torrey Smith that drew a pass-interference penalty.

"I channeled my inner Carson Wentz right there," Foles said with a smile.

One of his top highlights came late in the third quarter, as he lofted a 10-yard pass into the left corner of the end zone for receiver Nelson Agholor, who reached over corner Darryl Morris to secure the catch.

"He talks about getting the ball to the playmakers and we trust him," said Agholor of his conversations with Foles during the week. "I want to make sure he is comfortable doing whatever he wants to do and I'm at the right place for him. We talk about whatever windows I need to be in, how he wants to do certain things and we just try to execute it."

It wasn't perfect. There were times when the QB was out of sync with his receiver, and there were some missed opportunities. But overall, it was encouraging, given the circumstances.

To put it another way, Foles was down on the list of concerns coming out of Sunday's game. Jim Schwartz's defense yielded 29 points and 504 yards to a depleted Giants offense that entered the contest ranked second-worst in the NFL in both total offense and points per game (15.3). For a third straight week, this defense looked vulnerable. Not coincidentally, it faced three good quarterbacks over that stretch in Russell Wilson, Jared Goff and Eli Manning.

If not for three big special-teams plays -- a field goal block, a punt block and an extra point block -- and a late defensive stand, the Eagles would have coughed up a game against one of the worst teams in football.

But they survived. And while the playoffs will tell the real story of whether Foles is good enough to make up for Wentz's absence, he has gotten off to a strong start.