In continuation of the series we began last week on the Nick Foles Logarithmic Interception-Facepalm Scale, or NFLIFS, we will focus today on Weeks 5 (Rams) and 6 (Giants). There are three total interceptions, one by the Rams and two by the Giants. Let's jump right in, and see why E.J. Gaines can play the damn cornerback position.
Week 5: Rams
Situation: 13-0 Eagles, 10:12 left in 2nd quarter, 1st & 10 on the Eagles' 39 yard line.
NFLIFS Magnitude: 3.14159...
This resulted in a 'Minor" facepalm, enough to leave a mark but not enough to linger. Why 'Minor', even though it appears that Foles threw it right at him? Well, let's just say that E.J. Gaines, a 6th round rookie (at the time) cornerback from Mizzou, has superior recognition, coverage and ball skills that should have him staying in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
Before the snap, Gaines is playing off coverage. On the snap, Gaines immediately recognizes the route (a nine, or "go") and allows the WR to eat up his cushion and gain outside release. Once committed, he sinks his hips, drives low and gains/sticks in the inside hip of the WR (another great Mizzou product, Jeremy Maclin). Gaines was timed at 4.49 in the 40 at the Combine, and is step for step with Maclin (4.48). Watching Foles' eyes (Foles does a good job holding the deep safety, Rodney McLeod), Gaines knows that he is on an island and performs perfectly, giving up zero ground and coming down with the contested ball. Gaines 1, Foles 0. Game, blouses.
It was not a BAD ball by Foles, maybe a bit underthrown and could have been placed nearer to the far hash, but much of the credit to Gaines in his ability to recognize, keep optimal angles and haul in the ball.
The Rams lost this game, but found a late round gem in Gaines.
I should warn you. This next interception requires facial reinforcement.
Week 6: Giants
Situation: 20-0 Eagles, 1:29 left in 2nd quarter, 1st & 10 on the Giants' 16 yard line.
NFLIFS Magnitude: 8.6
Did you hear that? Was that another eruption from Krakatoa?
No. But it sure sounded like a loud and distant "crack" that could only come from a volcanic eruption.
And then that long and mournful howl? Was it a Gray Wolf, Chris Long's spirit animal?
No, it was just me facepalming myself with such extreme force that it could be heard 'round the world. I woke up 2 days later in a wheat field somewhere (hence the delay in this article). Let's see if we can figure out what happened.
There is pre-snap motion from back Darren Sproles, who started split wide, came back under Foles, and then released into the flat after the ball was snapped. Nothing fancy here, the Eagles just wanted to get a feel for coverage responsibilities. After the snap, it becomes clear that the slot CB is spying on Sproles, and follows him back out to the sideline. Freeze frame for a second:
Foles is scanning the left side of the field, with the outside WR out of the frame and well covered (short field), and the inline slot receiver unable to gain separation from an inside linebacker. The read does not appear to include the offset slot receiver in the left flat (we'll come back to him later).
Ok, so now what? Well, #94 (Mathias Kiwanuka) is already pressuring Foles into stepping up into the pocket. Except that he doesn't; in fact, he takes a tentative step back and hesitates. This causes a chain reaction: the pocket muddies, and a stunt is then pulled by the other defensive end, who after battling Jason Peters for a moment loops back around inside. Here's the next decision to make:
Note Foles remains planted on the Giants' 24 yard line. It is clear there is no more read on the left side of the field (even though he is "open" Foles is no longer in position to throw). Foles must get rid of the ball or take the sack.
It is 1st and 10 on the Giants' 16, so throwing it harmlessly away will have them 2nd and 10 on the 16. Taking a sack, 2nd and 17 from the Giants' 23. Either would be acceptable, given a 20 point lead and being about a minute until halftime.
Instead, Foles conjures the most IDGAF throw I've seen from him yet, one that even Brett Favre would say "I need to put on my most WRANGLER of Wrangler jeans to make." Off the back foot, all arm, to the sideline, to a surprised Sproles. No further analysis is needed, I need a drink.
Situation: 20-0 Eagles, 13:20 left in 3rd quarter, 3rd & 5 on the Eagles' 35 yard line.
NFLIFS Magnitude: 6.5
Here is more of Nick Favre, the gunslinger from Texas. Foles was just trolling me at this point, since I was trying to recover from the last facepalm. I was like "Nick, what are you DOING man? Just throw that ball AWAY. It's 3rd and 5, you've got a 20 point lead, let Donnie Jones do his thing." Nick was like "I've got this, and I don't care what you think bro. I can MAKE this THROW."
Foles has the pocket immediately collapse around him as he hits his second step. He does a great job stepping back and taking off to his right, buying a few seconds for the receivers to come back to the sticks. The right slot receiver waves his hand (he's open at that moment), but Foles continues rolling right. As his receivers close on the sticks, Foles unleashes a laser shot in the direction of... the right cornerback. Game, blouses.
We will unveil the third and final episode in the series, starting with Week 8 (Cardinals) and ending in Week 9 with Foles suffering a season ending injury.
We will then turn the page and put our positive hat on, and show you every one of Foles' TD's in 2014. This will require the introduction of the Nick Foles Logarithmic Touchdown-Mindblown Scale (NFLTMS).