Numbers don't lie for Nick Foles

Why Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles are legit playoff threat

Updated: January 3, 2014, 10:17 AM ET
By Scott Kacsmar | Football Outsiders

Nick FolesRonald Martinez/Getty ImagesHas fate or skill fueled Nick Foles' superior 2013 numbers?

Chip Kelly was known for his legendary offensive production at Oregon, but few knew what to expect from his NFL debut with the Philadelphia Eagles. About the last thing anyone would have expected was a NFC East title on the strength of one of the most balanced offenses since the AFL-NFL merger, one led by second-year quarterback Nick Foles.

Foles finished the regular season with a 119.2 passer rating, the third highest in NFL history. His 27 touchdowns and two interceptions are the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (13.5) ever in a season. He also led the league in passing yards per attempt (9.12) and passing touchdown percentage (8.5).

Kelly's offensive system is a great one, but it was supposed to operate best with a mobile quarterback such as Michael Vick. While the offense looked OK early in the season, it's been better with Foles at the helm. And while Foles has some mobility, he's clearly not on Vick's level of athleticism.

Vick may have technically lost his job after being injured (again), but with the way Foles played on a weekly basis, Kelly's proclamation that Foles is the Eagles' starter "for the next thousand years here" is understandable.

But some may be skeptical of just how good Foles really is. How much of his statistical success can he claim, and how much does the system and talent around him claim? He threw only 317 passes this season and, while he showed some promise as a rookie, his 2013 performance is far beyond any of the expectations for his pro career. So, as he prepares to lead the Eagles into the playoffs, can he keep it up?

Foles in 2013: Lucky or good?


To see why Nick Foles makes the Eagles a legitimate postseason threat, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Scott Kacsmar

Football Outsiders
Scott Kacsmar is an Assistant Editor at Football Outsiders.