Greatest on the road ...
It took 44 years before a quarterback matched the seven-touchdown performance put forth by Joe Kapp for the Minnesota Vikings in a game against the Baltimore Colts in 1969. It's been done twice now during the 2013 season (Peyton Manning pulled off the feat in the season's first game against the Baltimore Ravens). Foles was an unlikely candidate to join the six others who have thrown for seven touchdowns in a single game. His previous career high in a game was three touchdowns, done in a 31-20 win over the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6.
By throwing for seven touchdowns in a 49-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum, Foles had more touchdown passes in 40 minutes of play against the Raiders than the Vikings (6) and Jacksonville Jaguars (4) had all season to that point. The victory was vital for an Eagles team that had been floundering entering Week 9, but at 4-5 sit a game behind the division-leading Dallas Cowboys (5-4) and are still in the thick of the NFC playoff chase.
Foles' statistical windfall puts him in an elite class. He joins former Eagles quarterback Adrian Burk on the list of passers with seven touchdown tosses in a single game (Burk did it in 1954 against the Washington Redskins). Burk was the second in NFL history to pull if off, matching Chicago Bears legend Sid Luckman (who had seven TD passes against the New York Football Giants in 1943). Y.A. Tittle had seven TD throws in 1962 against the Redskins and George Blanda had seven touchdown passes for the Houston Oilers against the New York Titans in 1961. Luckman, Tittle and Blanda are all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Manning figures to be enshrined someday. Foles, meanwhile, made a pretty strong case to remain the Eagles' starting quarterback moving forward.
Entering Week 3, the San Francisco 49ers were coming off a 29-3 prime-time pasting at the hands of the division-rival Seattle Seahawks, while the Colts were coming off a disappointing 24-20 loss at home to the Miami Dolphins. The Colts-49ers showdown apppeared to be a classic case of a home team prepared to throw down the gauntlet on the visiting team. The 49ers had not lost consecutive games under coach Jim Harbaugh (7-0 coming off a loss entering Week 3), and Luck -- who just happened to have Harbaugh as a coach at Stanford -- was just 4-4 in road games at this point in his brief NFL career.
Instead, the Colts pulled off Week 3's most startling upset this side of Minneapolis, defeating the 49ers 27-7 behind a stifling defensive effort and a power running game. With a bit more than four minutes remaining and his team up 13-7 in what had been a tight contest, Luck delivered the decisive blow. He faked a handoff to running back Ahmad Bradshaw and bootlegged left untouched for a game-sealing 6-yard touchdown run. The score capped an 11-play, 80-yard march to victory for Indianapolis, which improved its record to 2-1 and showed the Colts have some big-boy mettle when presented with a tough road assignment.
Rodgers and crew converted on three fourth-down plays on their game-winning drive, including a 48-yard touchdown play to Randall Cobb, to earn a 33-28 win over the rival Chicago Bears, claim a third consecutive NFC North crown and make the playoffs for the fifth time in a row. Did we mention it came against the Bears? In Chicago, where "fourth-and-8" could go down among the team's most disappointing losses to their neighbors from the north. Here's a quick top-of-my-head power rankings of bitter Bears losses to the Packers ...
Rodgers broke his collarbone the last time the Bears and Packers played, a 27-20 Bears win on "Monday Night Football" in Week 9. Three weeks before that, Cobb injured his knee in a win over the Baltimore Ravens. Against the Bears in Week 17, the two combined for a play that will be one of the signature moments of the NFL's most storied rivalry.
Previous Greatness on the Road winners:
» Week 1: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
» Week 2: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
» Week 3: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
» Week 4: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
» Week 5: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
» Week 6: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
» Week 7: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
» Week 8: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
» Week 9: Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
» Week 10: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
» Week 11: Matt McGloin, Oakland Raiders
» Week 12: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
» Week 13: Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
» Week 14: Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
» Week 15: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
» Week 16: Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals
» Week 17: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
» Wild Card Weekend: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
» Divisional playoffs: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
» Conference championships: Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers