Packers can't keep pace with Eagles
GREEN BAY—Nick Foles keeps throwing touchdown passes. The Green Bay Packers keep losing quarterbacks.
A week after tying the NFL record by passing for seven TDs, Foles connected for three long touchdowns and the Philadelphia Eagles pulled away for a 27-13 victory over the injury-ravaged Packers on Sunday.
Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for a 55-yard score in the first half. Touchdown passes to Riley Cooper from 45 and 32 yards highlighted a 17-point second half for the up-tempo Eagles.
Philadelphia handed Green Bay its first back-to-back home losses since 2008, Aaron Rodgers’ first season as the starting quarterback. It was the worst home loss for the Packers since falling 38-10 to the New York Jets on Dec. 3, 2006.
The Eagles, the NFL’s road warriors, improved to 5-5, with all their victories coming away from Philly.
They won a battle of attrition at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Already without Rodgers because of a left collarbone injury, the Packers (5-4) lost backup Seneca Wallace to a groin injury.
Just like last week, coach Mike McCarthy had to adjust on the fly after losing his starting quarterback on the first series.
Third-stringer Scott Tolzien, who played college ball at Wisconsin and was just signed off the practice squad this week, filled in well with 280 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. He zipped a 22-yard pass to Brandon Bostick with 3:29 left in the third quarter to cut the Eagles’ lead to 20-10.
But quarterback play turned out to be the least of the Packers’ problems on a crisp, fall afternoon.
The strong-armed Foles exposed Green Bay’s secondary in the second half. Cooper was wide open on both of his long scores, rolling over the goal line on his 45-yard score after being untouched on the ground, then working his way wide open toward the left sideline after Morgan Burnet slipped for the 32-yard score to make it 27-10 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Linebacker Clay Matthews returned after a four-game absence, wearing a large, black wrap to protect his injured right thumb. But the pass-rushing specialist was neutralized mostly by the tricky, quick-strike Eagles.
LeSean McCoy finished with 155 yards on 25 carries, the second straight week that Green Bay’s typically staunch run defense had allowed a 100-yard rusher. McCoy softened the Packers with runs of 9 and 25 yards on the Eagles’ first series of the second half before Foles found Cooper for the 45-yard score and a 17-3 lead.
Foles finished 12 of 18 for 228 yards. He still hasn’t thrown an interception this season, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame has requested a game-worn jersey and cleats that Foles wore during his record-tying, seven TD performance against Oakland.
Could be tough for Michael Vick to get his starting job back any time soon. He was inactive a second straight week with a hamstring injury.
The Packers caught a break in the fourth quarter when Foles lost the ball after being sacked by Mike Daniels and Tramon Williams. A replay review found Foles fumbled before hitting the ground and McCarthy thought he was back in business with the ball on the Eagles 13 with a chance to cut the lead to one possession.
But in a season full of adversity, bad luck found Green Bay again.
Another replay review found Jordy Nelson didn’t hold on for possession before falling to the turf in the end zone on a fourth-and-4 pass from Tolzien.
The teams combined for three missed field goals in a choppy first half, including a 53-yard miss by Green Bay’s Mason Crosby off the right upright.
And a rash of injuries slowed down the pace the entire afternoon. The Eagles lost left tackle Jason Peters to a quad injury.
The Packers were especially devastated. Already without Rodgers and Wallace, Green Bay lost two starting offensive linemen in Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and right tackle Don Barclay.
That left guard T.J. Lang, who was returning from a concussion, to slide over to center—meaning the Packers went most of the game with a third-string quarterback and backup center.
The protection was spotty. Still, Tolzien showed a strong arm, and seemed at ease with the playbook. Jarrett Boykin had eight catches for 112 yards.
Wallace hit all five of his passes for 25 yards before leaving with the injury.
Cooper finished with three catches for 102 yards, while Jackson had four catches for 80 yards. He caught his 27th career touchdown of 55 or more yards.