The mark of a great quarterback is refusing to give in when the stakes are set high against your team and the momentum isn’t pointed in your direction. The great ones create their own momentum and bring their team back against adversity. On Sunday in front of a fiery St. Louis crowd begging for something to hang their pride on, Nick Foles brought the Rams back, steering them towards a 34-31 upset victory over the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks.
Instead of taking to Twitter to promise victory like Russell Wilson did, Foles just went to work when the whistle blew. After a few hiccups early including a sack strip and fumble return for a touchdown and a few ill-advised throws, Foles was dynamic in the second half in reversing another fate that would have been labeled “Second Half dooms Rams again.”
For years, that has been the Rams motto. Start fast and deflate quicker. Foles wasn’t going to have any of that Sunday. He went 18-27 for 297 yards, throwing the game tying touchdown to Lance Kendricks late in the 4th quarter and also rushing for a touchdown earlier in the game. He completed 66 % of his passes and didn’t think twice about the Seahawks aggressive defense. Some young players may have let the early troubles get to them and mentally shut down, but it seems like the harder the situation became Sunday, the tighter the focus Foles showed.
This is a quarterback driven league and every team treats their QB like a general, rather they are a star or not. The defense can play a great game, but if the quarterback can’t do something with the ball in their hands it all goes to waste. The offense needs him to guide them down the field. Be their navigator at all times. If the QB fails, the operation is finished. Forget the flags, the coaches, the head sets and the practice.
It hasn’t been easy for Foles. He was set up behind Michael Vick in Philadelphia and had to wait for his opportunity to shine. When he did in 2013, winning 8 games and throwing for 27 touchdowns, the credit was given to Chip Kelly’s offense and not Foles. He came into his first game with St. Louis with a 15-9 record but little respect and credit given. He was looked at as injury prone for damage taken to his shoulder in 2014. Any Rams fan that had reservations about the trade for Foles isn’t holding them today. The 26 year old has turned heads with his performance.
Sure, it’s only one game. It’s just a blip on the schedule for most NFL teams. For the Rams, it was oxygen to the brain and blood flow to the heart. The fans needed this. His teammates needed him to be sharp. Foles’ unsung hero work in the second half against the Seahawks may not make the Sportscenter highlight reel or get a four minute speech from Jon Gruden about mental toughness, but it will be remembered by anybody who was in attendance Sunday. Along with a stout defense that stopped Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson when it mattered, Foles was the X-factor in the Rams first win.
His postgame Twitter comments was more team oriented.
Proud of my teammates for fighting hard to get that win today. #GoRams
— Nick Foles (@NFoles_9) September 14, 2015
The rest of the schedule won’t be easy but the Rams have all the confidence in the world at the moment. To them, the possibilities are endless. That is the power of a huge Week 1 victory. The fanbase is energized and the rest of the schedule doesn’t look at tough. Nick Foles will probably have a few bad games and rough moments with the Rams. It’s a team pre-requisite to suffer through harsh times. However, Sunday’s play showed a taste of what the man brings to this team and why the Rams extended him before the first snap.
Nick Foles has something to prove and that is he can produce results in any offensive system and with any team. He’s off to a good start in St. Louis.