The Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs in their home game against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC divisional round. It was Carson Wentz’s torn ACL that pressed Nick Foles, who was the Eagles’ starter in 2013 and 2014, back into service.
Saturday night, Foles looked like he hadn’t missed a beat in the Eagles’ 15-10 win. He was measured in the pocket and accurate downfield. The Eagles’ offense clicked when it counted, and Philadelphia will play the winner of Sunday’s Saints-Vikings next week for a chance to go to Super Bowl LII.
The numbers tell the tale of Foles’ outing: 246 yards on 23-of-30 passing and a 100.1 passer rating. Not too shabby for a guy tagged as the reason Philadelphia’s postseason aspirations were less than sunny.
“We believed that we could move the ball and do all of those things,” Foles told NBC on the sideline after the game. “We saw it.”
Now you can see it, too. Here are three charts that provide some perspective on Foles’ outing and offer some keys of what to look for next Sunday in the NFC championship game.
Foles’s passing yardage is the first stat that jumps off the page. His 246 yards are a season high, and he hasn’t done better than that since Week 1 of the 2015 season, when he threw for 297 yards against Seattle as a member of the St. Louis Rams.
Yup, you read that right.
Nick Foles hasn’t thrown for as many yards as he did on Saturday since the Rams have moved back to Los Angeles.
It’s really hard to consistently be as accurate as Nick Foles was Saturday. His 76.7 percent passing vaulted him to second place all-time in career playoff accuracy.
But that’s because he’s up against guys with similarly small bodies of postseason work. This was Foles’ second playoff appearance. As for other players near the top of that ranking, Matt Moore, Teddy Bridgewater each have one. Erik Kramer has four.
By comparison, the NFL’s regular season average for completion percentage is 62 percent.
Quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are all further down on the list because they’ve played so many more postseason games.
Still, it’s hard to mess with the notion that Foles plays well on big stages, or at least, that he’s pretty precise throwing the football. He’s yet to turn the ball over in the postseason.
It’s easy to be that accurate with a bunch of short passes that let receivers rack up yards after the catch. But Foles really did throw the ball down the field. He averaged 7.7 yards per passing attempt. That’s just about four-tenths of a yard (14 inches) less than Drew Brees, who leads the NFL in that category.
It would also rank just behind Matt Ryan and just ahead of Kirk Cousins’ season average.
All together, this paints a pretty thorough picture of Foles’ outing Saturday. He found a groove, and nine different receivers. He threw the ball accurately and he threw it down the field. That’s the kind of output the Eagles were looking for in their attempt to replace Carson Wentz.