PHILADELPHIA – Nick Foles has a new nickname that’s appropriate this time of year: Saint Nick.
Foles hardly resembles jolly old Santa Claus, but he’s given fans of the Philadelphia Eagles plenty of gifts this year, and they’re looking for one more.
A victory over the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) would clinch the NFC East title for the Eagles (9-6) and secure the No. 3 seed in the conference to cap what has already been a remarkable turnaround under rookie coach Chip Kelly after a 4-12 finish last year.
But this story is far from complete. For all of his accomplishments, Foles is constantly reminded about the first time the Eagles played the Cowboys.
Both teams were 3-3 when Dallas came to Philadelphia, shut down Kelly’s high-flying offense and knocked Foles out of the game with a concussion at the end of the third quarter. Foles was 11 of 29 for 80 yards in the 17-3 loss, a dismal performance.
“I know everybody is going to dwell on last time, but this game isn’t the last game,” Foles said.
Foles returned from the concussion two weeks later and threw seven touchdown passes to tie an NFL record in a victory at Oakland. He leads the league with a passer rating of 118.8, which is third-highest in the history of the NFL. He’s thrown 25 TD passes to only two interceptions. He’s led the Eagles to a 7-2 record in nine starts and has them on the verge of going worst to first in the division.
Yet, he’s still asked about that first game against Dallas on Nov. 3.
“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.”