OAKLAND -- Did that really happen?
Seriously. Did I dream that?
Nick Foles? Seven touchdowns?
Apparently, it really did.
So here are 10 observations from what was simply one of the greatest passing performances in NFL history, seven TDs from Foles in the Eagles’ 49-20 win over the Raiders Sunday at O.co Coliseum (see Instant Replay).
1. What an astonishing day for Foles. Yeah, I guess you still want to see consistency before you give him the job for good. See him play at a high level for a period of a few weeks. But any questions that the debacle vs. the Cowboys raised two weeks ago were answered Sunday. Resoundingly. Foles saw the field, delivered the ball accurately, made great decisions and did it all on the road, in a tough stadium, against a top-10 defense. He was poised, confident, in command of the offense. Everything you wanted to see, you saw. Masterful stuff.
2. It’s insane to even think about. Foles tied the NFL record for touchdowns in a game (see box). Two weeks after going 11 for 29 for 80 yards. In the Dallas game, he averaged 2.8 yards per pass. Against Oakland, he averaged 14.5 yards per pass. Foles is the seventh QB in NFL history with seven TDs, joining Y.A. Tittle, Joe Kapp, George Blanda, Adrian Burk, Sid Luckman and Peyton Manning earlier this year. But only Manning and Tittle did it without an interception. This was one of the greatest games any NFL quarterback has ever played.
3. Really impressed with Riley Cooper. Five weeks into the season, he had the fewest catches and yards of any starting wide receiver in the NFL -- eight for 83 yards. But he never stopped working, never doubted himself or his place in the offense, never stopped doing and saying the right thing. And in the last four games, he’s got 17 catches for 360 yards and four touchdowns. Sunday, he became the first Eagle in six years with three TD catches in a game, the first since Kevin Curtis vs. the Lions in 2007. Also, props to Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman for sticking with Cooper when fans were clamoring for the Eagles to release him and trade for some old, broken-down veteran. The Eagles believe -- and they’re dead right -- that you’re much better off keeping the guys together who’ve been with you the entire offseason than bringing in new guys who don’t understand your culture, who don’t know your offense, and who were unwanted everywhere else.
4. Terrelle Pryor is a remarkable athlete, but that offense is brutal to watch. Make one read and then run. Great for the highlight reels, but you’re not going to win like that. Brutal.
5. The historic outburst from Foles and co. will get the headlines, and it should, but this was another impressive performance from the Eagles’ steadily improving defense. The D has now gone five straight games without allowing more than 21 points, and the last three games, they’ve given up 17, 15 and 20. Just solid stuff. Bennie Logan was very good in his first NFL start, Vinny Curry continues to get outstanding pressure when he’s in the game, coverage was sound other than the one big play the Raiders hit early, two takeaways, and the linebackers kept Pryor’s running in check for the most part. Since “Trust me,” Billy Davis’ group is allowing 17.2 points per game. Amazing.
6. Good to see Bryce Brown finally get something going. He was so good last year and so ineffective the first half of this year, but he was the Eagles’ leading rusher Sunday with 51 yards on just five carries. Brown -- who entered the game ranked 68th of 69 NFL backs with 30 or more rushes at 2.6 yards per carry -- seemed to be hitting the holes Sunday instead of trying to run everything wide and turn the corner. Encouraging.
7. Maybe the most astounding thing about Foles is that he still hasn’t turned the ball over this year. He’s got 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions, and he’s the first QB in 53 years with 13 or more TD passes and no interceptions this late in a season. Milt Plum, a Woodbury High School graduate, had 13 and none for the Browns in 1960. Foles has thrown two interceptions in his last 308 pass attempts and he’s thrown 157 consecutive passes since his last INT, last December against the Redskins. Incredible.
8. Here’s a list of quarterbacks with seven touchdowns and no interceptions in a game since the merger in 1970: Peyton Manning and Nick Foles.
9. I like Michael Vick, I’ve always liked Michael Vick, and I always will like Michael Vick. But Foles had more touchdown passes in the first 31 minutes of this game than Vick has this year in six games.
10. Hey, how about Earl Wolff? I really like this kid. He’s got a little edge to him, doesn’t he? Like watching him play. It’s been so long since the Eagles had a young, playmaking safety. Maybe they finally found one.
10A. Consider this: Foles now has more games with seven touchdowns than Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre and Tom Brady combined.