PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Foles led the NFL in passer rating, helped the Philadelphia Eagles win the NFC East title and had a sensational statistical year as a sophomore.
Has he earned the franchise quarterback title yet?
"I don't want to comment on any player, but how could you not be impressed with Nick and everything he's accomplished?" owner Jeffrey Lurie said following Saturday night's 26-24 loss to New Orleans in an NFC wild-card playoff game. "Including tonight; no turnovers, led us back from 20-7. Incredibly impressive."
If the Eagles going from worst to first under rookie coach Chip Kelly was the biggest surprise, Foles' emergence had to be second on that list. He was outstanding after replacing an injured Michael Vick in Week 5.
Foles threw 29 touchdown passes, including two against the Saints, and only two interceptions, setting an NFL record for best TD/interception ratio. His passer rating of 119.2 was the third-highest in NFL history. He finished 8-3 as a starter.
Moreover, Foles showed poise, leadership and remarkable maturity for a guy who only turns 25 on Jan. 20.
"I know that this season is over, but we're going to keep working and growing as a team," Foles said. "I love playing here, I love this city, I love this team, and I love this organization because I know the heart of it. The heart of it is the heart of Philadelphia. Like Coach Kelly said, 'We fight,' and we're going to keep fighting."
Foles wasn't at his best against the Saints, contributing to the abrupt end to Philadelphia's season. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 195 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. But he also made some costly decisions.
The biggest mistake was holding the ball far too long and taking a sack for an 11-yard loss early in the second quarter. Alex Henery missed a 48-yard field goal on the next play. Obviously, those extra 11 yards didn't help the kicker on a cold, windy night.
"It's tough. You don't want to do that, but you have to keep playing to the next play. You can't let a mistake like that — taking a sack or an intentional grounding — defeat you on the next one," Foles said.
"I'm going to keep moving forward. I'm not going to let that play defeat me and make me a worse player. I'm going to use that play to learn from it so that next time I won't do it."