Eagles fans sliding into bed in the wee hours Friday morning after Thursday night's opening week 18-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons hopefully said a thank you prayer for Jim Schwartz's defense, because the offense has a lot of work to do.
Nick Foles could not replicate his Super Bowl MVP performance. The veteran quarterback looked more like the player who struggled in 2015 than the RPO-machine we saw last playoffs. Foles earned an eye-gorging 3.4 yards per attempt average on 19-of-34 passing for a meager 117 yards and one interception (he's lucky it wasn't more).
"It was one of those unique games where it's not really a rhythm thing," Foles said, via Jeff McLane of the Philly Daily News. "It's just that you're going to fight all game."
Thursday night's performance highlighted Foles variance. He's either lights out, like the Super Bowl, or painfully off-target. There is no in-between.
Early in the game, Foles was especially erratic, spiking passes into the dirt, missing wideouts wide, deep and short, and struggling with his pocket presence. The 29-year-old quarterback found a little rhythm in the second half -- following the Philly Special redux -- but was stymied by several drops, including two notable ones by usually reliable tight end Zach Ertz.
The big question entering Thursday night's tilt was which Foles we'd see after a poor preseason. We got Bad Nick. The performance didn't instill confidence, but the Eagles won. Overcoming a bad night for the QB is the sign of a good team ready to defend its title.
The Eagles will need to see Good Nick at some point this season, as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported before the game that Carson Wentz isn't expected to be ready for a few more weeks -- we doubt Foles' struggles Thursday will change the timeline, as Philly will play it cautious with the franchise QB.
"You try to prepare as the starter, but it's a unique situation," Foles said. "There's where I stay in the moment, give everything I have to teammates, prepare like I always do and then we'll see what happens."
What happened Thursday night was a win. Philly will take every ugly win it gets until Wentz returns.