Nick Foles invented play on late pass to Avant
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TAMPA, Fla. – The Eagles’ offensive playbook is huge. Massive. Endless, almost.
There’s one play that’s not in it. And that’s the one that went for 22 yards on 4th-and-5 with 16 seconds in the game left Sunday.
The Eagles trailed the Buccaneers by five points and faced fourth down on the Buccaneers’ 23-yard-line with no timeouts remaining.
So Foles dropped back and found Jason Avant for 22 yards down the middle to set up his game-winning touchdown a moment later to Jeremy Maclin.
On a play that doesn’t exist.
“We don’t have that play,” Avant said. “He made it up.”
So not only did Foles throw for an Eagles rookie-record 381 yards and two touchdowns, not only did he rally the Eagles from 11 points down with four minutes left to a 23-21 miracle win over the Buccaneers in his fourth NFL start, he drew up one of the biggest plays of the game figuratively in the dirt (see Instant Replay)
“A little schoolyard,” Foles said with a shrug.
A little schoolyard? Seriously? At that moment?
“We don’t exactly have it in the playbook,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “We do, but it’s two different plays, and he combined them.”
Basically, Foles told Avant to run a post instead of a crossing route against two-deep coverage.
“It’s a route I normally don’t run and we got it, so it was just a great job by Nick,” Avant said. “It wasn’t something we had, but we made it work.”
How can a 23-year-old quarterback who started his first NFL game 21 days ago have the presence of mind to do what Nick Foles just did?
On fourth down? With the game on the line? On the road? With 16 seconds left?
Who knows? But he did it.
“That’s just a quarterback knowing what’s going on and knowing that’s what the defense was giving us,” said Jeremy Maclin, who like Avant surpassed 100 yards Sunday. “He saw what they were doing and just came up with something he thought would work against it.”
Avant said he wasn’t sure whether Foles or Mornhinweg came up with the play. Mornhingweg said it was all Foles.
Foles just shrugged it all off.
"It's just playing ball, I don't know what to tell you. ... Jason ran a great route. I got time,”
“They have split safeties, so the middle of the field is open. So the big thing is, you don't want to lure a safety in with your eyes -- you try to keep your eyes away and get him the ball."
Remarkable poise and composure by any quarterback.
Truly unreal to see this kind of decision-making under fire from a rookie in his fourth career start.
“But he’s not a rookie,” Avant said. “We don’t look at him like a rookie. The plays he’s making and the decisions he’s making, he’s definitely not a rookie anymore.”E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org