Going into Sunday afternoon's game, it had been 70 days since the Philadelphia Eagles tasted victory. To put their losing streak into perspective, 69 days ago from Sunday, the Eagles' allies from across the street, the Phillies, had won a game more recently than them.
70 days later, the Eagles finally showed up with what they had been missing -- heart.
Rookie quarterback Nick Foles completed his first career game-winning drive with a last second touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin as Philadelphia persevered in Tampa Bay, defeating the Buccaneers, 23-21.
The Eagles were four minutes away from their longest losing streak in 42 years before erasing an 11-point deficit. Foles became the second rookie in as many weeks (Andrew Luck) to throw a game-winning touchdown as time expired. In what's been a tumultuous season for Philadelphia (4-9), they treated this game like the Super Bowl, rushing the field after Foles' game-winning toss. Sunday's outcome was also a delight to Andy Reid, who appears to be touring his farewell season in Philly.
For Tampa Bay (6-7), this loss puts a huge damper on their postseason hopes. Other than letting Foles erupt in the second half, the Buccaneers produced on offense, eliminated rookie running back Bryce Brown & pressured Foles for most of the game, including downing the rookie from Arizona with six sacks.
There were a lot of positives & negatives to take away from both teams, but there can only be one Hero and one Zero of the game:
Hero: Quarterback Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Playing for a future starting job next season, Foles took a huge step forward Sunday, setting Eagles rookie records for yards (381) as well as completions (32). In addition to his two touchdown passes with no interceptions, Foles added a 14 yard scamper late in the second quarter. With his decision making seeming to improve every week, the Eagles' rookie could muster up enough experience to make a huge impact for the Eagles next season.
Zero: Running Back Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
While Foles took a step forward Sunday, Brown took a couple steps back, literally. Lesean McCoy's stand-in spent most of the day getting tackled in the backfield, accumulating a disappointing six yards on 12 carries. Aside from his struggles to hold onto the ball, Brown's biggest weakness may be his inability to run north-south. Very reminiscent of Reggie Bush at USC, Brown tries to bounce every run outside instead of settling for a few yards or hitting the inside holes.