It was the biggest play the Philadelphia Eagles have had in a long, long time, and the veteran coach allowed the rookie quarterback to decide which play it would be.
It proved to be a winning one, as quarterback Nick Foles threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on the final play of Sunday's game and the Eagles (4-10) snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 23-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
The Eagles, who hadn't won a game in 70 days, led most of the game until the Bucs came back to take a 21-16 lead, thanks in large part to a muffed punt by Eagles returner Damaris Johnson inside the Eagles' 10-yard line.
But Foles led the Eagles on two touchdown drives in the final seven minutes, and coach Andy Reid let him choose the play he was most comfortable with near the goal line. It was a short rollout to his right and a short pass to Maclin in the end zone that ended the Eagles' longest losing streak in 42 years.
When the game turned: The decision by Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano to run the ball on third-and-8 with 2:55 left to play and his team leading 21-16. If the Bucs passed the ball and picked up the first down, the game would have been over. Instead, he handed it to RB Doug Martin, who was stopped for no gain. That forced the Bucs to punt, and the Eagles took over on their own 36-yard line with 2:44 left to play, which proved to be just enough time for the Eagles to win the game and the Bucs to lose it.
Highlight moments: Eagles WR Jason Avant's amazing one-handed, 20-yard catch in the second quarter that led to Alex Henery's 28-yard field and a 3-0 lead. And if you missed it, don't worry -- it's certain to show up on all the highlights shows … The recovery by Tampa Bay's Dekoda Watson on a muffled punt by Damaris Johnson that set up Bucs' first TD. … Bucs WR Vincent Jackson's 40-yard catch over Nnamdi Asomugha late in third quarter that set up TD that gave Bucs their first lead of game. … Finally, the biggest play of the game -- Eagles QB Nick Foles' perfect 22-yard pass to Avant on fourth-and-5 to the Bengals' 1-yard line that set up the game-winning TD.
- Eagles WR Jason Avant caught seven passes for 133 yards, the fifth 100-yard game of his career.
- Buccaneers RB Doug Martin rushed for 128 yards on 28 carries and didn't have a run longer than 14 yards.
- Eagles quarterback Nick Foles completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, for a QB rating of 98.6.
- Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson caught six passes for 131 yards – an average of 21.8 yards per reception – and scored a TD.
- Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin caught nine passes for 104 yards, including the game-winning TD.
- Buccaneers Michael Bennett and Gerald McCoy each had two sacks.
What they said about Nick Foles' last-second, roll-out TD pass to Jeremy Maclin:
- Eagles coach Andy Reid: “I talked to Nick, and that's the play he wanted. He called it and he executed it and did a great job with it. That's the one he liked the best. He was feeling it, and it's a great thing when your quarterback is in tune like that.”
- Quarterback Nick Foles: “I just like a movement play in that situation. It changes the throwing lanes. It just felt good, and it was the first play that came into my head.”
- Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano: “We were in red-zone coverage designed for those types of plays. But they're trying to do what they're trying to do, too. It's imposing wills and their will won on this play.”
Numbers you should know: Eagles kicker Alex Henery finally missed a FG attempt after making 22 straight. Actually, he missed two -- one, a 58-yarder that hit the left upright and a 31-yarder that he simply shanked. … After rushing for an average of 170 yards in his first two starts, Eagles RB Bryce Brown finished with just 6 yards on 12 carries against the NFL's top-rated defense vs. the run. … The Eagles have won four games this season, all four by two points or fewer. That's a team record. … Speaking of team records: Foles' 381 passing yards makes him the only rookie QB in Eagles history (not counting strike-replacement-scab games) to pass for 300 yards.
Injury update: Eagles -- TE Brent Celek left with a concussion and did not return. Clay Harbor was the only other TE in uniform. He ended up with career highs in catches (nine) and receiving yards (52). … Not playing for the Eagles were FS Kurt Coleman (bruised sternum), DT Mike Patterson (viral pneumonia), QB Michael Vick (concussion) and RB LeSean McCoy (concussion).
Going forward: Eagles -- Not much rest for this team, as the Eagles return home to play the Cincinnati Bengals in a Thursday night game that will probably mean something for the Bengals and nothing for the Eagles. Then they close the season with a couple of NFC East games as Robert Griffin III leads the Redskins for his first visit to Lincoln Financial Field, then the Eagles head up the Jersey Turnpike for a rematch with the New York Giants, whom the Eagles beat 19-17 earlier in their season for their only divisional win of the season. Buccaneers -- They also have to take on divisional rivals in the last weeks of the season, traveling to New Orleans next week. After a final home game against St. Louis, the Bucs close out the season at division-leading Atlanta in a game that could decide whether Tampa Bay makes the playoffs.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSEagles.
For more from Tampa Bay Bucs blogger Patrick Southern, follow @CBSBucs on Twitter.