In Monday night's last-minute win over the Oakland Raiders, Nick Foles showed why he's a backup. The quarterback completed 19-of-38 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Foles often held the ball too long, missed receivers high or in the dirt, and rarely hit targets in stride. The veteran backup was particularly woeful on third downs, where the Eagles went 1-14.
"I didn't play good enough. I have to play cleaner and, obviously, play better," Foles said after the win. "Third down is a big thing with a quarterback; pin-point accuracy, making good decisions. I'll look at the film, I'll improve. These wins are tough; wins in the NFL are tough. This was a crazy, sloppy game. I thought our defense played wonderful -- giving us an opportunity -- I believe it was five turnovers. That's huge, that was big."
Foles' four-touchdown performance in Week 15 belied the struggles the Eagles offense will encounter sans Wentz. Gone are the explosive plays and third-down magic. When the run game is stymied, as it was in the second half Monday night, the Eagles will struggle to move the ball.
After squeaking out victories over two bad teams with Foles under center, the Eagles head into the playoffs with a bright red question mark at football's most important position.
Coach Doug Peterson decided to spin positive after Philadelphia clinched home-field advantage.
"We found a way to win. That's the bottom line," he said. "We found a way to win. I'd love to win 40-3 or 34-28, but sometimes you're going to be in these games. We got to be hard on ourselves as coaches and players looking at this film, moving forward, and get things fixed offensively. I thought the defense played really, really well. They kept us in the football game, special teams. [It was a] team effort, though. [We] found a way. [We are] sitting here today 13-2. Everybody's got to come through here now. That's the exciting part."
In the postseason, the Eagles won't face a lost team that will turn the ball over five times in the second half like the Raiders gifted on Christmas night. Managing the downgrade at quarterback in the playoffs will be the toughest task of Pederson's young coaching career.