RELATED LINK: Trending Topic — What journalists are saying about Nick Foles
In a day highlighted by NFL rookie quarterback performances, former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles stood above the rest for Philadelphia on Sunday.
Foles became only the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 350 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The others are Billy Joe Tolliver (in 1989) and Andrew Luck (this season).
Foles completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Tampa Bay. He also rushed for a touchdown.
He threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin as time expired. The 23-21 victory remained in doubt until the instant-replay official upheld the catch that Maclin made as he went to his knees in the side of the end zone.
“Very special. Very humbling,” Foles said during the post-game press conference. “It’s a great win, too, because we came back. We were winning, then we lost the lead. Guys stuck together.”
Foles was involved in a memorable day for first-year quarterbacks in the NFL:
— Washington rookie Kirk Cousins — Foles’ former Michigan State teammate before he transferred to Arizona — took over for an injured Robert Griffin III (another rookie from Baylor) in the Redskins’ game-tying drive against the Ravens. With Griffin out of the game on the Redskins’ final drive of regulation after injuring his right knee, Cousins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, then ran for a tying two-point conversion on a quarterback draw with 29 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. Washington ultimately won 31-28.
— Luck produced his sixth fourth-quarter comeback this season, the highest single-season total by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. He led the Colts to a 27-23 win over visiting Tennessee.
— Seattle rookie Russell Wilson, who will finish third in the rookie of the year balloting behind Luck and Griffin, led the host Seahawks to a 58-0 win over the Cardinals.
— Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden was an efficient 17-of-30 passing with 217 yards for the Browns against visiting Kansas City. The Browns have won three straight games.
In Foles’ heroic performance against Tampa Bay, he kept the final drive alive with a 3-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 31. Foles also connected with Jason Avent for 22 yards across the middle to keep the Eagles’ hopes alive.
He threw his two touchdown passes in the final four minutes to overcome an 11-point deficit, finishing with the 32 completions, an Eagles rookie record. He was sacked six times, but withstood the punishment.
“All around as a team, we just never quit,” Maclin told the Associated Press. “You guys are seeing Nick Foles grow into a phenomenal quarterback right in front of your eyes. I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Foles is already the third-leading former UA quarterback in the NFL in passing yardage. The catch: Arizona has featured only four former quarterbacks who have played in the NFL.
Foles is only 77 yards from reaching Eddie Wilson (in the NFL from 1962-65) for No. 2 on the list. Foles is at 1,174 yards five games into his NFL career. Wilson tallied 1,251 yards with the Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Boston Patriots.
The leader is Fred Enke Jr., who compiled 4,169 yards over 1948-54 with the Detroit Lions, Eagles and Baltimore Colts.
CAREER NFL STATS OF FORMER ARIZONA QUARTERBACKS
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Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner