Situational resilience…this Eagles team may be lacking something in overall talent or physical health, but it is not lacking in team character.
The Birds took an early lead and held on for dear life before pulling away late. They overcame injuries to their All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters and to their young OLB Mychal Kendricks. They withstood an initial surge by the Packers' running game. And yes, they got an assist from Lady Luck.
Most of all, I liked what I think I saw from the flexibility emerging in Chip Kelly's coaching of the offense.
Kelly seemed open to modulating his high-tempo read-option strategy when it became apparent the Packers' D had completely figured it out.
Initially the Packers were able to completely bottle up the Eagles' run game.
But Kelly, to his credit, adjusted.
He started calling more conventional sets and pass plays from the shotgun formation and backs lined up in the I… the result was good stuff started happening for Foles and the offense.
And LeSean McCoy suddenly got it going on the ground—which threw the Pack's pass rush completely off balance.
As for Lady Luck? A deflected pass that landed in DeSean Jackson's hands for a 55-yard TD… Two long touchdowns to Riley Cooper, one after a defensive back slipped to leave the Eagles receiver wide open for a score…Two missed FG attempts by Mason Crosby that were very makeable… An "illegal touching" call against the kicking team that spared Colt Anderson a near-disastrous mistake on a return team assignment that would have cost the Eagles seven points…
A week after tying the NFL record by passing for seven TDs, Foles connected for three long scores and Philadelphia pulled away for a 27-13 victory Sunday over the injury-ravaged Green Bay Packers.
"He has great poise," Cooper said. "He's going to sit in the pocket and kind of dissect the defense."
Philadelphia's 17-point third quarter handed Green Bay its first back-to-back home losses since 2008, Aaron Rodgers' first season as the starter. It was the worst home loss for the Packers since falling 38-10 to the New York Jets on Dec. 3, 2006.
The Eagles improved to 5-5, with all their victories coming away from Philly. They won a test of attrition at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
The undermanned Packers (5-4) played most of the day with third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien. Rodgers is out with a left collarbone injury, and backup Seneca Wallace left after the first series with a groin injury.
Actually, Tolzien played well considering he was just signed off the practice squad this week. He finished 24 of 39 for 280 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. "We had a lot of tough situations today, no excuses," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I thought Scott Tolzien played as well as could be expected."
Foles was better. He finished 12 for 18 for 228 yards and the three scores — a 55-yarder to Jackson and touchdowns of 45 and 32 yards to Cooper.
LeSean McCoy finished with 155 yards on 25 carries, the second straight week that Green Bay's run defense had allowed a 100-yard rusher. McCoy softened the Packers defense with runs of 9 and 25 yards on the Eagles' first series of the second half before Foles found Cooper for the 45-yard score and a 17-3 lead.
Again, the Chippah impressed me with his ability to adjust. When safeties creep into the box to stop the run, "you've got to be able to throw the ball over the top," coach Chip Kelly said. "We've got some guys in DeSean and Coop that can go over the top that we believe in."
The right arm of Foles exposed Green Bay's secondary in the second half. Cooper was wide open on both of his scores, rolling over the goal line on his 45-yarder after being untouched on the ground, then working his way free toward the left sideline after Morgan Burnett slipped for the 32-yard score to make it 27-10 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Tolzien, who played college ball at Wisconsin, seemed at ease as the game progressed. He zipped a 22-yard pass to Brandon Bostick with 3:22 left in the third quarter to cut the Eagles' lead to 20-10. The Eagles answered on their next drive with the second of Cooper's two scoring catches.
Tolzien's biggest mistake came early in the second quarter, when he marched the Packers from their 18 into the red zone, only to be intercepted by Brandon Boykin in the end zone on an underthrown ball to Jordy Nelson. At the time, the Eagles were only leading 7-0.
"We had an awesome opportunity there and got a good look with the play that we were running," Tolzien said. "Looking back on the throw, I should have thrown more back pylon."
As the game played out, however, the Eagles pass rush came to life. Tolzien was buried in a signature sack by Vinny Curry at a key point early in the 4th quarter, and the air went out of the balloon for the Pack.
Cooper finished with three catches for 102 yards, while Jackson had four catches for 80 yards. He caught his 27th career touchdown of 55 or more yards.
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||7.2||5.3|
Comp – Att
Yards per pass
Sacks – Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-4||0-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
After the Packers failed to score from the Eagles' 7-yard line, the Eagles were able to run out the final 9:32 of game time.
|Green Bay Passing|
|Green Bay Rushing|
|Green Bay Receiving|