Last night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys was closer than some people expected, since Kyle Orton and the Cowboys pass-catchers were able to keep things interesting. Orton finished with 358 passing yards, but he also had the game-losing interception. People will pin this game on the coaching staff for making Orton throw it 46 times while “only” rushing 17 times with DeMarco Murray, but the fact of the matter is that Murray was ineffective while Orton was effective. The losing INT was a huge blow, but Orton and the passing game did keep them in this one.
The Eagles were definitely the favorites coming in, and they had another solid game on offense. LeSean McCoy absolutely dominated terrible Cowboys run defense to the tune of 131 rushing yards, and that gave quarterback Nick Foles some more great balance to work with. The Eagles have one of the best offenses in the NFL with the league’s rushing leader and the league’s leader in passer rating, and both came up big in last night’s crucial, playoff-deciding contest.
Foles was as accurate as usual with a 17-26 line, and he averaged an excellent 10.1 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He played clean, controlled, and efficient football, taking full advantage of one of the NFL’s worst defenses. What makes Foles’s performance all the more impressive are the stakes involved, and he definitely played well in a huge game.
He also did a great job working under a different kind of pressure, as Foles was under a constant bombardment of pressure from the Cowboys defense. The Cowboys sought to hit Foles early and often, as getting him uncomfortable in the pocket was their main goal. They viewed Foles as vulnerable when hit based on their experience with being the only team to shut him down this season, but Foles did not fold under five sacks and seven QB hits.
The Eagles are moving on to the postseason to take on the New Orleans Saints, and it’s going to be an interesting matchup between two high-powered offenses. Expect Foles to continue to spread the ball around to a variety of targets, and his arm strength meshes well with Chip Kelly’s desire to aggressively throw the deep ball.