Six months after beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Nick Foles had a very different outing against New England. The quarterback played poorly Thursday in a preseason game as his Eagles lost, and in a more concerning development, he got injured.
But, hey, at least Foles finally got that handshake from Tom Brady. Of course, the Super Bowl MVP had to wait for it, but let’s get to the injury first.
The result of the game, a 37-20 Patriots win, doesn’t matter much, but Foles possibly being hurt could be an issue, given that Carson Wentz is no lock to be ready to play in Week 1 as he recovers from knee surgery. Foles suffered what was described as a shoulder strain in the second quarter, when he was hit by New England’s Adrian Clayborn on a strip sack that produced a defensive touchdown on a 54-yard fumble return.
Foles immediately grabbed his arm in pain and was replaced with third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld. After the game, Eagles Coach Doug Pederson said he would wait for a medial evaluation before offering more details on the injury.
If Foles is forced to miss time, Philadelphia can at least hope it’s no more than the next two preseason games, allowing him to be ready for the regular season opener against the Falcons on Sept. 6. On the other hand, the 29-year-old veteran looked scattershot Thursday while completing just three of nine passes for 44 yards, so perhaps he would benefit from more practice before things really get underway.
The outing was a far cry from Foles’s Super Bowl performance, which was his sixth start last season after taking over from Wentz in December. He bested Brady and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick by completing 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception as Philadelphia took home its first Lombardi Trophy in a 41-33 triumph.
In what was undoubtedly a complete coincidence, and not a troll job pulled off from within the Patriots’ own stadium, the Eagles’ Twitter account posted a pregame photo Thursday showing a pair of jerseys that would be used in the upcoming game. It just so happened that the jersey numbers were 41 … and 33.
Brady actually put up gaudier statistics than Foles in February, throwing for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, but he lost a costly fumble on a late-game sack and took criticism afterward for leaving the field without shaking his counterpart’s hand. Foles played down the moment to reporters Wednesday, saying: “He’s a great guy. I have all the respect in the world for him. … I think everyone’s making a really big deal out of this and it’s not a big deal at all.”
Not surprisingly, though, some observers made at least a little deal out of a pregame moment Thursday, when Brady strode across the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to shake the hand of the opposing quarterback. The only issue was that his show of collegiality came with Wentz, not Foles, as the latter was reportedly in the locker room at the time.
After the game, though, Brady and Foles had their long-awaited moment, even moving from a handshake to a hug. Some lip-readers suggested that the Patriots quarterback said, “I’m happy for you.”
Asked at a postgame news conference about that encounter with Foles, Brady said that he “did hear” some of the chatter about his alleged Super Bowl snub. “That was kind of made up to me, because that was never my intention,” Brady said. “I wouldn’t be a bad sport.”
“I have a lot of respect for Nick and Carson, all those quarterbacks, and that team and the way they played,” Brady added. “I know how hard it is to win that last game.”
In his postgame comments to reporters, Foles said of his shoulder, “It just sort of got jarred in a funny way as I was following through. But it feels good. We’ll check it out tomorrow more thoroughly.”
His status will be a hot topic Friday on Philadelphia sports-talk radio, all the more so because the months-long, burning issue of Brady’s lack of a handshake for Foles has now been resolved.
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