Nick Foles throws 3 TDs as Eagles hold off winless Bucs
TAMPA, Fla. -- Nick Foles is comfortable filling in for Michael Vick.
Philadelphia's backup quarterback threw for a career-high three touchdowns and ran for a fourth Sunday, leading the Eagles to a 31-20 victory over the winless Bucs.
"What we do offensively ... we don't change," coach Chip Kelly said. "He did a really good job of spreading the ball around to different receivers. ... I told him to let it rip. That's what we told him to do, and he did it."
Foles finished a long first-quarter scoring drive with a 4-run and threw scoring passes of 12 and 36 yards to DeSean Jackson. He also heaved a 47-yarder to Riley Cooper and threw 44 yards to Cooper to set up his second TD pass to Jackson.
The Eagles (3-3), with their new fast-paced offense that Kelly's sprung on the NFL after a successful college coaching stint at Oregon, joined the 2007 Patriots and 1983 Chargers as the only teams to gain at 400 yards in each of their first six games.
"I feel really comfortable here. I feel comfortable with our personnel, our plays, everything," Foles said. "It helps when you have a great relationship with the players, the coaches, and when you go into the game you're all on the same page. ... Everybody stuck together, and it was another team win."
With the injured Vick active but not playing, Foles made his seventh career start and beat the Bucs (0-5) for the second time. He was 1-5 as a rookie a year ago, with that victory also coming on the road at Tampa Bay.
In the two games, the second-year pro accounted for 677 yards, seven touchdowns -- five passing and two rushing -- and no interceptions.
Kelly shrugged off a question about whether Foles has done enough to earn the starting job over a healthy Vick, who said he's not concerned about whether he's still No. 1.
"He's a great football player. He does exactly what he needs to do when he goes out on the field," Vick said. "That's not something I'm going to worry about. I'm worrying about getting healthy."
Foles completed 22 of 31 passes for 296 yards and no interceptions. NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy gained 116 yards on 25 attempts, and Cooper finished with four receptions for 120 yards.
In addition to playing through a messy split with Josh Freeman, the Bucs also have been dealing with three members of the team being diagnosed with MRSA, a staph infection that's resistant to many common antibiotics.
Rookie Mike Glennon threw for 273 yards, including TD passes of 1 and 24 yards to Vincent Jackson in his second start for Tampa Bay, which benched Freeman before later releasing the 2009 first-round draft pick during the team's bye week. Jackson had nine catches for 114 yards, and Tim Wright had seven for 91 yards.
The Bucs played without receiver Mike Williams, who was inactive with a sore hamstring.
The Eagles won their second in a row to climb back to .500. Tampa Bay, which began with expectations of contending for their first playoff berth since 2007, have dropped 10 of 11 games dating to last season.
"We're a competitive franchise who's been on the short end of the stick too many times. We need to get on the right end of the stick. We've to play our way and coach our way out of it one day at a time. That's how you do it," Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said. "There's no magical answer. Stand to your convictions without being stubborn, and move forward."
The Bucs announced Thursday that guard Carl Nicks, who along with kicker Lawrence Tynes was diagnosed with MRSA in August, is being treated for a recurrence on an infection in his left foot. By the end of the day, a third player -- rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks -- was diagnosed with MRSA.
Nicks was inactive Sunday, however Banks was cleared to play, with the league and NFL Players Association saying a joint statement that a medical specialist met with the Bucs, supervised the inspection of the team's facilities, conducted medical examinations and agreed with the Tampa Bay medical staff that Banks did not pose a risk of transmission to other players.
With the Bucs opening the game with five defensive backs on the field, Banks made his fourth career start and had five tackles.
Vick was active but did not play after being injured during last week's victory over the New York Giants. Foles led an eight-play, 85-yard TD drive on Philadelphia's first possession, opening the game with a short pass that McCoy turned into a 44-yard completion and finished by scoring on a quarterback draw.
The Eagles limited Bucs RB Doug Martin to 67 yards rushing on 16 carries. ... McCoy's 100-yard performance was his third of the season. His 630 yards rushing and 871 total yards from scrimmage are most by an Eagles player though the first six games. ... Tampa Bay had not allowed a rushing TD until Foles scored in the first quarter.
- Clete Blakeman
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