Nick Foles vs. Chicago Bears: 17/36, 200 Yards, 1 INT, 53.0 Passer Rating

One of the more shocking headlines I saw on Monday was that Case Keenum was getting the start next week for the Rams instead of Nick Foles because Jeff Fisher is looking for an “offensive spark.”  I don’t know how much of a spark Keenum can actually give but it is clear through the stats that Foles has not be up to the job in St. Louis.  He is 29th in passer rating (75.9), Last in QBR (34.1), 28th in Yards (1,678), 28th in completion percentage (56.6), 30th in yards per attempt (6.56), and T-29th in TDs (7).  The only stat that he is doing well in is interceptions with only six on the season (With four of them in one game against the Packers).  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  That requires diving into the film and the last game he played was versus the Bears.  The Chicago Bears defense is surprisingly stingy through the air at first glance as they 4th in total pass yards allowed per game (217.0).  But combine this stat with the 8th in completion percentage allowed (61.2%), 13th in yards per attempt allowed (7.1), 20th in passer rating allowed (94.8), T-22nd in touchdowns allowed (17th), and T-25th in Interceptions (5) and the Bears are a decent to above average pass defense that isn’t challenged a whole lot because of their porous run defense.  This article looks into why Nick Foles struggled so much against the Bears and why Jeff Fischer decided to bench him for Keenum.

1st Quarter

Pass #1

Situation: 1st and 10 SL 20
Description: Q1-(15:00) N. Foles Pass Short Right to J. Cook Pushed Out of Bounds at SL 49 for 29 Yards (T. Porter)

This may be one of the easiest throws Foles has had in his career.  Either LOLB Willie Young or LILB Shea McClellin isn’t disciplined in their coverage responsibilities and they don’t recognized TE Jared Cook leaking out into the flat.  One of them has to pick Cook up but instead Cook is wide open and Foles makes the easy throw for a big gain.  (1/1, 29 Yards)

Pass #2

Situation: 1st and 10 SL 49
Description: Q1-(14:26) N. Foles Pass Incomplete Deep Middle to B. Quick [W. Young]

This is just a missed throw by Foles deep on this play.  WR Brian Quick beats CB Kyle Fuller on the post route to the inside and is wide open for a big gain.  Foles sees this and makes the right read to go to Quick on the post route.  His throw sails too high though and Quick is unable to make the catch.  There is nothing obvious with Foles’ technique to say why Foles missed the throw as he is able to step into the throw and is only hit during the following through by Young after the ball is thrown.  The pass rush may of thrown him off as DE Will Sutton pushed LG Garret Reynolds into Foles field of vision.  This is a throw that an NFL QB has to make though if he is going to be successful in the league.  (1/2, 29 Yards)

Pass #3

Situation: 2nd and 10 SL 49
Description: Q1-(14:19) N. Foles Pass Short Middle to T. Gurley to CHI 20 for 31 Yards (K. Fuller)

I have no issue with Foles dumping the ball off to RB Todd Gurley when he is wide open for a big gain (thanks to RILB Christian Jones biting on the play action fake and not noticing Gurley coming out of the backfield).  What I worry about watching this play is his lack of going through his progression.  He has all day in the pocket and can take his time to go through his reads.  Instead he only looks at WR Tavon Austin running the post route and never moves his eyes on the play.  If he goes through his progression, he would have noticed WR Kenny Britt wide open on the dig route as CB Tracey Porter can’t keep up with him.  While the pass goes for a big gain, Britt is a potential touchdown in the making and Foles doesn’t even give him a look.  (2/3, 60 Yards)

Pass #4

Situation: 1st and Goal CHI 6
Description: Q1-(12:10) N. Foles Pass Incomplete Short Right to L. Kendricks [S. Acho]

This is not the easiest play in the world for Foles to make.  TE Lance Kendricks is wide open in the endzone as no one is in the back of the endzone to cover him (Either SS Antrel Rolle, Jones, or FS Adrian Amos needs to be back there, but its hard to tell exactly who should be back there) but Foles is under quick pressure from ROLB Sam Acho.  But I think Foles has to make this throw to be a successful NFL QB.  Kendricks opens up immediately but Foles waits and drifts backwards trying to avoid Acho.  Either Foles has to cut his bootleg short and step into a throw or stop drifting backwards for a second, take the hit from Acho, and throw the pass.  Instead he tries to throw the ball off his backfoot while drifting backwards which is the recipe for a ball that floats on a QB.  This of course happens and the ball floats out of the back of the endzone.  (2/4, 60 Yards)

Pass #5

Situation: 1st and 10 SL 20
Situation: Q1-(11:10) N. Foles Pass Short Right to T. Austin to SL 21 for 1 Yard (K. Fuller)

The coaching staff is not helping out Foles with calling a fifth straight play action pass.  The defense is not going to bite on it hard and its going to limit where he has to throw the ball.  But Foles on this play may of not made the ideal throw to Austin.  Austin is open underneath but how far this pass goes is dependent on if Austin can get past Fuller.  Austin may be very shifty in the open field but Fuller is coming from his side which is harder to juke out of a tackle then if Austin is facing Fuller straight on.  Throwing to Kendricks on the crossing route is definitely the harder throw as McClellin is underneath the route and Amos is closing in on Kendricks.  But this throw is one that a NFL QB can make since McClellin is eight yards underneath Kendricks and Amos is behind and on Kendricks’ inside shoulder.  Foles throw isn’t an incorrect one, its just not an ideal throw given the situation.  (3/5, 61 Yards)

Pass #6

Situation: 3rd and 8 SL 22
Description: Q1-(9:55) N. Foles Pass Short Left to B. Marquez Pushed Out of Bounds at SL 30 for 8 Yards (B. Callahan)

No complaints about Foles here.  He does everything you can ask for a QB to do on this play.  He goes through his reads from high to low as he goes from Quick’s go route down to WR Bradley Marquez’s out route that beats CB Bryce Callahan.  He buys himself time in the pocket by drifting to his left and deeper to avoid the pass rush of ROLB Lamarr Houston trying to bull rush RT Rob Havenstein and Young getting penetration on LT Greg Robinson.  And last but not least, he throws a good pass out to Marquez for the first down.  (4/6, 69 Yards)

Pass #7

Situation: 3rd and 6 SL 34
Description: Q1-(7:50) N. Foles Pass Incomplete Short Left to W. Welker

There is no reason for Foles to miss this pass.  Yes, Foles and WR Wes Welker are lacking in chemistry between each other.  But this is an easy throw to make.  Welker recognizes zone coverage and sits in the hole in the zone after he beats McClellin to the inside.  Foles should place this in ball with a soft touch and if anything move Welker a little to the inside with his throw.  Instead he throws a fastball that is way to high and inside for Welker to make a catch.  Foles mechanics are okay outside of being flat footed before the throw and there is no pressure in his face so this should be a completion.  (4/7, 69 Yards)

Pass #8

Situation: 3rd and 7 CHI 14
Description: Q1-(5:57) N. Foles Pass Short Left to W. Welker to CHI 8 for 6 Yards (A. Amos)

There are two thought processes that go through my head when I watch this play.  The first is Foles’s throw to Welker is a good decision to make based on his read of the Go-Out Combo of RB Benny Cunningham and Welker but Amos just makes a great play to stop Welker before a first down.  Welker does Foles no favors as well as he runs this route short of the sticks but Foles does Welker no favors by throwing this ball high and outside.  This forces Welker to extend for the pass and limits his ability for yards after the catch.  The second is Foles is too attached to his first set of reads.  The throw to Welker is going to be cutting it close to the first down line no matter what and he has the pocket to go through his reads.  If he comes back to his right, he would see Quick is wide open underneath on the in route as McClellin carries the seam route of Cook and Jones is following the eyes of Foles.  This is an easy throw and catch for a first down and Foles misses a great opportunity.  (5/8, 75 Yards)

For the 2nd Quarter, see the next page