For Nick Foles, a little film study went a long way. It helped him move on from an epic clunker to putting forth merely one of the greatest performances by a quarterback in NFL history.
Moments after his seven-touchdown effort Sunday against Oakland spearheaded the Eagles’ 49-20 rout, Foles said he had watched the film of his implosion against Dallas and made the necessary adjustments.
For whatever reason, Foles looked skittish in the pocket against Dallas. At times, he appeared reluctant to pull the trigger. Other times, his passes were either underthrown or off target.
Against Oakland, Foles’ mechanics and ball placement were two of his strongest points. He made use of his eyes to avoid telegraphing passes and made throws to spots where only his receivers could make plays.
Two touchdowns, in particular, show Foles’ drastic improvement from one game to the next. Let’s take a look.
The first is Foles’ second-quarter touchdown pass to Riley Cooper, a 17-yarder that put the Eagles up 14-3. The Raiders show a single-safety high formation on 3rd-and-5 with man coverage on the outside and six in the box. Veteran defensive back Charles Woodson (red circle) is the deep safety, and he’ll have to determine after the snap which side of the field will need his help:
After the snap, Foles looks to his right, where he has three different receivers, including DeSean Jackson split wide. On the left, Cooper is matched up against rookie corner D.J. Hayden. Woodson sees more action to his left and naturally takes a step in that direction as Foles surveys that side of the field:
Here’s the view from the end zone, with Woodson staring at Foles’ eyes and leaning toward his left:
The look-off works. Foles immediately pivots and fires the ball to Cooper, who only needs to beat Hayden. Woodson is too far away to get involved:
Here’s where good placement from Foles is key. Foles only needs to put the ball in the corner of the end zone, out of Hayden’s reach, for the touchdown. Cooper does his part, using his size to create separation in the end zone, and Foles puts the ball in the perfect spot:
Now let’s go to the third quarter, when Foles again played eye games with the safety and showed great placement on a deep touchdown to Jackson.
On 1st-and-10, the Raiders are again in single-high safety and man coverage. The Eagles have Jeff Maehl split left and Jackson split right, each running vertical routes:
After the snap, Maehl tries to put a double move on Hayden while Jackson runs a fly pattern down other side. Foles pump-fakes to Maehl, which freezes Woodson in the middle of the field:
Woodson doesn’t bite totally on the fake, but he doesn’t start heading over to Jackson’s side until after Foles looks right and releases. Jackson’s man has slipped, leaving the receiver wide open:
At this point, a well-placed pass to the outside shoulder can get to Jackson before Woodson can. And that’s exactly what happens:
Woodson is still too far away to make a play on the ball as Jackson is hit in stride at the 11-yard-line, with nothing but green ahead of him:
The Eagles go up 42-13 and Foles, in his ninth career start, has just made history. For one day, the Dallas game is ancient history.