TAMPA — His numbers are preposterous. His story is familiar.
Second-year quarterback Nick Foles has relegated Michael Vick to a permanent seat on the Philadelphia bench with a six-week run for the ages. And in the process, the former third-round draft choice out of Arizona has proven once again that saviors under center can originate from all corners.
Bucs fans are starting to think the same way about Mike Glennon, another 6-foot-6 quarterback who entered the NFL as a third-round pick.
Foles carries an additional 20 pounds and has the benefit of one extra pro season over Glennon. Both quarterbacks earned major honors when Glennon was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month and Foles was selected as the NFC’s top offensive player in November, with a 152.8 passer rating that set a league record for any calendar month.
Foles, who turns 25 in January, easily leads the league with a passer rating of 125.2 and has thrown 19 touchdown passes without an interception this season in resurrecting the Eagles. His average yards per pass attempt (9.14) also tops all quarterbacks and Philadelphia is 5-1 since Foles replaced Vick as the starter.
“Realistic? No, I mean, that’s crazy,’’ Foles said when asked if he can maintain his startling efficiency. “But at the same time, I’m not looking to throw an interception. I’m going to keep playing like I am, and if something happens, it’s not going to destroy me.’’
Before his torrid streak, Foles was known in NFL circles as a Buc killer.
Last December, with the Bucs sitting at 6-6 and still on the fringes of the NFC wild-card playoff chase, Foles notched his first NFL win by rallying Philadelphia to a 23-21 triumph at Raymond James Stadium. Foles spoiled the party on an afternoon Tampa Bay paid tribute to the 2002 championship team, finding Jeremy Maclin for the game-winning score as time expired.
“You guys are seeing Nick Foles grow into a phenomenal quarterback right in front of your eyes,’’ Maclin said that day. “I think the sky’s the limit for him.’’
While Maclin has missed the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL, Foles has gone a long way in fulfilling those expectations.
And once again, the Bucs witnessed his maturation process as Foles threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score in a 31-20 win at Tampa two months ago.
The sixth quarterback drafted in last year’s bumper crop, Foles looks like a steal.
“He’s got that mentality kind of like a point guard, which is what we need in this offense,’’ Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “One of his strengths is how well he thinks on his feet.’’
The same description applies to Glennon, who seldom appears confused, despite his inexperience.
With the Eagles and Cowboys locked in a tie atop the NFC East at 7-5, Foles takes on a talented Lions defense today. Detroit posted seven sacks against Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day, and Glennon faced a furious pass rush when the Bucs ventured into Ford Field two weeks ago.
“Foles has been real tight,’’ Lions cornerback Darius Slay said. “But we’ll get him. That streak ends this week.’’