GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have the ball for long, but they had it long enough to connect for three big plays to defeat the Green Bay Packers 27-13 on Sunday.
Quarterback Nick Foles threw long two long touchdown passes to Riley Cooper and another to DeSean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy had 155 rushing yards for the Eagles (5-5), who improved to 5-1 on the road. That was enough against the Packers (5-4), who were at a rare quarterbacking disadvantage and lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2008.
From 1992 through the first eight games of 2013, the Packers used only Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn as starting quarterbacks. With Rodgers out with a broken collarbone, 33-year-old Seneca Wallace made his first start since Jan. 1, 2012. Wallace, however, lasted just one series after injuring his groin and was replaced by Scott Tolzien, who was called up from the practice squad on Wednesday.
Tolzien played relatively well, completing 24-of-38 passes for 280 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, but made a couple big mistakes and failed to convert in key situations.
The loss wasn’t just costly in the standings. Along with Wallace, the Packers lost center Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) in the second quarter and right tackle Don Barclay (knee) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (unknown) in the fourth. The Packers already were without three prime offensive playmakers in Rodgers, receiver Randall Cobb (broken fibula; injured reserve-designated to return) and tight end Jermichael Finley (neck; injured reserve).
The Eagles took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Foles hit Jackson for a 55-yard touchdown. Cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Morgan Burnett went for the pass breakup, with Williams getting his hands on the ball. Williams and Burnett collided, and the ball fluttered right to Jackson, who walked backward the final 5 yards.
Philadelphia held a 10-3 lead at halftime when Foles struck again to open the third quarter. This time it was into double coverage to Cooper, who made a diving catch and rolled the final yard into the end zone. Cooper got a step on cornerback Davon House and safety M.D. Jennings never saw the ball and had his back turned when Cooper made the catch.
The Eagles tacked on a field goal to make it 20-3 after safety Nate Allen deflected a pass to James Jones and linebacker DeMeco Ryans made a diving interception.
The Packers pulled within 20-10 when Tolzien hit tight end Brandon Bostick with a 26-yard strike. But Green Bay’s defense couldn’t get a stop. Foles ran for 16 on third-and-6, then hit Cooper for 32 yards for an easy touchdown against a blown coverage with 10 seconds to go in the third quarter. That made it 27-10, despite the Packers’ 2-to-1 edge in time of possession.
Trailing 27-13, Green Bay had a chance to get back in the game early in the fourth quarter. Foles was sacked by defensive lineman Mike Daniels and Williams, with Williams stripping the ball and running it in for a touchdown. The play was ruled merely a sack, with Packers coach Mike McCarthy winning half the challenge – getting the turnover but not the score. On fourth-and-4 from the 7, Tolzien threw to receiver Jordy Nelson, who tried to make a diving catch in the end zone. The play was ruled in complete, with referee Mike Carey confirming the ruling on another McCarthy challenge.
The Packers had ample opportunities in the first half. After the opening touchdown to Jackson, Mason Crosby hit the right upright from 53 yards. Tolzien led the Packers to the Eagles’ 5 but underthrew an open Nelson and was intercepted by cornerback Brandon Boykin. After Eagles kicker Alex Henery missed from 39 yards, Crosby missed from 42.
After the second of Crosby’s misses, the Eagles used a 25-yard completion to Cooper on third-and-9 and a roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Clay Matthews to get a 25-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0.
The Packers got on the board just before halftime, keyed by Tolzien hitting Bostick for 20 and Nelson for 30. On third-and-goal from the 8, Tolzien hit Jones in the end zone but cornerback Cary Williams shoved Jones out of bounds before he could get his second foot inbounds. The Packers settled for a field goal, giving them three points in the half despite 268 yards of offense and 21 minutes of possession time.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.