Nick Foles and the Mashed Panic Button

Lots of insecurity in the fallout of the Eagles loss to the 49ers, much of it centering around one usually trustworthy quarterback. Let's all take a deep breath, alright?

Nick Foles, the false savior. Maybe Donovan McNabb's actually right, when 'Super Five' opined shortly before the season that Foles isn't a franchise quarterback. After all, Foles has thrown two more interceptions in four games this season than he did across ten starts and an extended relief appearance a year ago. When's Sanchez getting in there, anyway? Do we pray for a Foles injury against St. Louis, or do we let him stink out the season?

Eesh. That's a little harsh, isn't it?

I'm merely satirizing the sky-is-falling crowd that makes up a sizeable chunk of the Philadelphia fanbase. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and the lovely cross-section of folks that light up WIP's phone lines were flooded with panic-stricken Iggles fans after last Sunday's loss to the 49ers, since the offense looked about as effective as Casey Matthews in the family picnic sack race. That is to say, not effective whatsoever.

Where's the Foles that threw a record-tying seven scores against the Raiders? How about the Foles that stuck a winning touchdown throw in the mitts of Jeremy Maclin as time expired in Tampa? The Foles that busted Arizona's strong defense with deft throws to his tight ends? The Foles that scorched a desperate Bears team in a 54-11 rout? Where the hell was he last Sunday?

Would you believe he had one of those bad days that quarterbacks of all walks sometimes have?

Peyton Manning, over his career, has had 17 regular season games where he's thrown at least three interceptions. Ten of those games occurred before he won his lone Super Bowl, and the narrative never strayed from him being a world-class quarterback. In fact, Manning endured a disappointing 2001 with the Colts (the 'PLAYOFFS' year from Jim Mora), where an offense consisting of him, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Jeff Saturday, Tarik Glenn, and a rookie Reggie Wayne finished 6-10. Five years later, all but James each collected a ring.

I'm not exactly comparing Foles to Manning here, even if both did produce a seven touchdown game last season. I'm merely making a point about the panic button. If the Eagles this season have a year like Indianapolis' 2001, someone will write an article declaring Michael Vick's exit to be Philly's death knell. Hell, I'll write it, because there's enough weary-minded Eagles fans that would give me the traffic and say, "THIS GUY KNOWS HIS STUFF!"

Meanwhile, Vick couldn't beat out Geno Smith for the Jets starting job. That's like running for election unopposed and losing.

But Vick's the past. Foles is the present and, despite the restless chatter, he's the future of the team. The fact that this conversation is taking place for a team that's 3-1, behind an incomplete offensive line, is absurd unto itself, but that's Philadelphia for you. I legitimately wonder if anyone felt Bud Selig was going to overturn the Phillies World Series win during the trophy ceremony. Wouldn't surprise me if someone in the Delaware Valley were so pessimistic.

You know who didn't start off the year 3-1? A number of Eagles teams, notably the 2003 group. Remember that? The 17-0 loss to World Champion Tampa Bay to start the year, followed by the 31-10 shellacking by eventual champion New England? You may have forgotten that McNabb, the savior-denier, didn't throw his first touchdown pass until October 5. By the time of the miracle comeback against the Giants ("BRI-UN WEST-BROOOOK!" - Merrill Reese), McNabb's season statline consisted of two touchdowns against six picks.

McNabb would soon go four straight games without a pick, throwing five touchdowns along the way. All of those games were victories, bringing Philadelphia to an 8-3 record, en route to home field advantage.

Those awful outings to start the season were forgotten.

What about last season? The Eagles started out 1-3, after the AFC West had their way with them. Who could forget the "Andy Reid beat us; we never should have fired him" chatter? Then Foles guided two straight wins. Then a concussion to Foles caused a descent to 3-5. Ahh, but then the Eagles rattled off five straight wins, winning seven of their last eight to clinch the division. Foles' loss to the Cowboys in October was ancient history.

It should be noted that Foles lost only two games as a starter in 2013: the Dallas game, and a confusing defeat at the hands of the hapless Vikings. In Foles' first start following each, wins over Oakland and Chicago, Foles' combined statline goes like this: 43 of 53 (81.1%), 636 yards, nine touchdowns, no picks.

Maybe that'll talk you off the ledge a bit.

Especially since the Eagles are 3-1. Three. And. One. One loss in which the Eagles fell approximately six feet short of taking the lead as the clock was draining. A loss in which the offensive line and running game struggled, and Foles (with three touchdowns gifted by defense and special teams) nearly won anyway. Yes, he had a bad game. He's entitled to some.

It stands to reason that Foles could come out, guns blazing, in a landslide win over the Rams today. We could see that 350-yard, four-touchdown, no-pick performance that we've yet to see this season. LeSean McCoy figures to have a bounce-back day against a pitiful (to this point) Rams run defense, so maybe Foles can settle in behind an offensive line that regains a starter in Lane Johnson, and make more assured throws.

If the Eagles win 47-10, you won't hear a peep about the San Francisco debacle, and you won't utter one yourself.

Instead, the only way you're mashing the panic button his coming week is if your elbow hits it while doing the 'We're going to the Super Bowl!" dance that all bi-polar, high-strung Eagles fans are known for.

High and low. Philadelphia knows only two ways.

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