One of the obvious storylines for the Eagles' game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday is Nick Foles facing the team against which he had his greatest accomplishment – throwing seven touchdown passes, tying an NFL record.
A lot has happened to both teams since then – new quarterback prodigies, new, new coaches, well, just about everything.
But there is one other storyline that perhaps has been overlooked by the Eagles' euphoric run to a 12-2 season, a run they're trying to continue without starting quarterback Carson Wentz:
The Raiders themselves went through this same scenario last season, where they lost their franchise quarterback Derek Carr to a season-ending injury when he broke his leg in the second to last game of the season.
It didn't go well at all.
The next week, thus forcing them into the Wild Card round, Oakland lost its season finale to the Denver Broncos. The loss cost the Raiders the AFC West title, even though they had a 12-4 record.
It also cost them their backup quarterback in Matt McGloin (yes, then released). So the Raiders traveled to Houston for their playoff game, the same quarterback who was with the Eagles during training camp, with third-string quarterback Connor Cook taking over.
They lost 27-14 to the Houston Texans and their season that had Super Bowl hopes was over.
That provides the Eagles with a cautionary tale as they head into a postseason with high expectations.
Foles, is much better than McGloin, of course, meaning the Eagles are better equipped to handle Wentz's injury than the Raiders were last season – as long as Foles stays healthy.
Foles has started 37 games in his six-year career, with 60 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions. His career quarterback rating is 88.9. That's better than many NFL starters.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was asked how the team tried to adapt without Carr:
" Del Rio said. "I think the Eagles have a tremendous football team. Nick Foles is very capable. He's got plenty of experience,Authentic Brandon Graham Jersey
,"You just focus on the parts of your team that are really good, played very well in the first game leading the team last week."
Del Rio was referring to the Eagles' 34-29 win over the Giants in which Foles rallied the Eagles back from a 13-point deficit in the second quarter. Foles threw four touchdown passes without an interception.
Still, the Eagles struggled to beat a Giants team that was 2-11 heading into the game.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson chalked that up to a lot of things... other than barely beating a team that had given up on the season,Authentic Brent Celek Jersey
, whose abysmal offense torched the Eagles defense for 504 total yards.
Pederson, cited fatigue from playing three straight games on the road, instead, and the intensity from a rivalry game. The Pederson said this:
we were in a dogfight,Authentic Jason Peters Jersey
,"The beauty of it is," Pederson said. "We needed to be in a dogfight the other day ... It's going to happen. Offense might be sluggish and the defense has to step up. Last week it was the offense coming through. That's the beauty of football and team sports. But we were in a dogfight. We figured out how to win the game."
winning 43-35. And they were in a dogfight the week before that against Seattle,The Eagles were also in a dogfight the week before against the Rams,Authentic Rodney McLeod Jersey
, losing 24-10.
Do they need another dogfight against the Raiders, who are 6-8?
Here is another cautionary tale: Carr is healthy this season. He has a good core around him. The Raiders were expected to build off of last season and become a contending team for many years to come.
So are the Eagles once Wentz is ready to play next season.
What went wrong for the Raiders? Del Rio answered in coach-speak:
"The biggest thing is you get these opportunities for these games that you play, and then it comes down to the teams that execute the best, and a lot of preparation goes into it,Womens Nigel Bradham Jersey
, and earn the victories," he said. "We just haven't earned enough this year."
That's another way of saying success isn't guaranteed.
That brings us back to Foles' game for the ages against the Raiders. Soon after, former Eagles coach Chip Kelly proclaimed Foles the starter for "the next thousand years."
Foles was traded a year and a half later. He lost his starting job in St. Louis late in the 2015 season, then spent last season as a backup in Kansas City and this season as a backup to Wentz.
Riley Cooper,Kelly was fired twice since then and is now back to coaching in college. Foles' top receiver that day, had 139 yards and three touchdowns. He was released after the 2015 season and hasn't played in the NFL since.
Terrelle Pryor was the Raiders' quarterback that day. He had 288 yards passing and 94 yards rushing. He's now a wide receiver.
In other words, even without Wentz, the Eagles should make the most out of this playoff run, because there are no guarantees that it will happen again.
leaving the club at 6-8 and requiring plenty of help over the last two weeks to make a miracle return to the playoffs. That didn’t happen,Oakland’s postseason hopes took a major hit with last week’s loss to the Cowboys, and now the best the team can hope for is to trip up the Eagles and Chargers as 2017 comes to a close.
Philadelphia’s season hasn’t had nearly as much drama. The Eagles were supposed to stumble after losing MVP candidate Carson Wentz to a torn ACL two weeks ago, but Nick Foles proved a capable replacement after slinging four touchdown passes against the Giants. Another big performance Monday will ensure the NFC’s road to the Super Bowl runs through Pennsylvania.
A few hours later, then he let go of the ball so that it bounced over the goal line and out of the end zone. By rule, the Raiders were driving on the Cowboys with their playoff hopes in the balance. Quarterback Derek Carr scrambled right and dove for the pylon, it was a Raiders turnover and a touchback for the Cowboys.
If Nick Foles is successful as the Eagles’ quarterback, it won’t be the first time.
Donovan McNabb,The Eagles embarrassed the Raiders 49-20 when Foles tied an NFL record for the most touchdowns in a single game with seven. He joined elite company — Brett Favre, and Tom Brady — as the only quarterbacks to throw for 250 yards and four touchdowns and preserve a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 at the half.
Rodney Hudson played every snap of last week’s game despite a kidney stone, which is a toughness I don’t even want to consider
“I want to relay a story about incredible grit and toughness and determination to be there for his teammates yesterday,” Del Rio said to lead out his Monday press conference. “Rodney Hudson yesterday had a kidney stone that he was having significant pain with in the lead-up to the game and he was able to somehow tough it out. . .
We are 14 games into the season, tied with Zach Ertz, and Nelson Agholor has more receiving yards this year than his previous two years combined. He has the second most touchdown receptions on the team with 8, and only one TD behind Alshon Jeffery. He has a career high 13.1 yards per reception and more games with a TD catch than without this year.
Oakland was in great position to topple the Cowboys at home. Derek Carr was trailing 20-17 and had driven his team to the Dallas 8-yard line with just 31 seconds left when he scrambled right and cut toward the end zone. As Jeff Heath met him to push him out of bounds, Authentic Brandon Brooks Jersey
,Carr extended the ball toward the goal line — and fumbled it through the end zone and out of bounds.
All the Philadelphia Eagles need to ensure they stay home in January is one more win.
A victory over the Oakland Raiders (6-8) on Monday night secures the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the Eagles (12-2) and gives coach Doug Pederson an opportunity to rest his starters in Week 17.
First, they have to beat the Raiders.
“If we’re in that position, to rest, if we’re fortunate enough to be in that position, I’ll make a decision at that time,” Pederson said.
“But I think it’s important here in these next couple of games that we continue to play. I think it’s important to maintain the edge, one series,Womens Brandon Graham Jersey
, maintain the aggressiveness. If it’s one play, one quarter, I’ll make that decision at that time.”
Players and coaches will have an unusual game day because it’s Christmas. Pederson is allowing the guys to spend the morning with their families before they report for work.
so I’m giving them an opportunity,Womens Brent Celek Jersey
,“I think it’s important that they spend time with their families Christmas morning,” Pederson said. “I pushed the schedule back just a little bit. We don’t play obviously till 8.
“Listen, my family. I want to make sure these players with young kids,Womens Jason Peters Jersey
, you don’t get these times back. You don’t get them back. It’s too important to me,Authentic Nigel Bradham Jersey
, coaches with young kids, they get a chance to spend Christmas morning together.”
Pederson, is a players’ coach. He gets it. So after the Eagles returned to practice after three consecutive road games,Womens Rodney McLeod Jersey
, a former backup quarterback, including a long trip to the West Coast, he cut back on their workload.
The extra day to prepare for Oakland gave Pederson a chance to rest some banged-up players earlier in the week.
“I just make sure I communicate with the players and see how they feel, tracking data that’s out there that we have and then just overall injuries,Womens Brandon Brooks Jersey
, and then just monitor some of the GPS stuff that we’re doing (with sports science), see where they’re at, too,” Pederson said.
“The health of the football team overall. Listening to players and things of that nature, staying off their feet, giving them that extra rest, more up-tempo walkthrough practices this week. It’s been good. Guys are feeling good. We’ve just got to keep guys fresh and healthy.”
Resting players is a priority because the Eagles have suffered a slew of injuries to key players. Carson Wentz was having an MVP-caliber season when he tore his ACL in Week 14.
middle linebacker Jordan Hicks,Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, return specialist Darren Sproles and special teams ace Chris Maragos also have sustained season-ending injuries.