The answer to that question will probably be determined by how much you believe in clutch — but we’ll come back to that.
From a physical standpoint, they are similar.
Foles is bigger, but Dalton was rated a better prospect coming out of college (at least by NFL.com) and as such drafted a round earlier. Neither has a cannon arm, but each can get the job done, and both are pocket passers.
Dalton has played far more games and posted a slightly higher career quarterback rating (88.7 compared to 87.4).
Foles’ best season (119.2 in 2013) was actually better than Dalton’s (106.2 in 2015), although that is one of only two years in which Foles started more than eight games, and he was pretty bad in the other one (69.0 in ’15).
Foles did not become the Eagles’ starter this season until Carson Wentz went down in Week 14, and then he posted one good game, one bad one and another generally judged “incomplete.”
So to this point it’s still obviously Dalton, right?
As much as he can be a whipping boy for his shortcomings, he’s still done more in the league to this point.
At least in the regular season.
Just like Bortles’ winning a playoff game (he went on to beat the Steelers a week later before pushing the Pats to the brink Sunday) made us wonder which stock might be more valuable, Foles has made the narrative pretty interesting this month.
He was nothing short of spectacular the past two weeks, completing 49 of 63 passes for 598 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He followed up a 100.1 quarterback rating in the divisional round against the Falcons with an astronomical 141.4 mark against a very good Vikings defense on Sunday.
Foles also played well in his only other playoff game, posting a 105 rating with two TDs and no picks as the Eagles were edged 26-24 by the Saints in 2013.
Meanwhile, Dalton’s career postseason quarterback rating is 57.8. That’s less than half of Foles’ mark.
Yes, it’s a small sample size, but... that’s a pretty big difference.
Also it’s only fair to point out the deck was stacked against Dalton in some of those postseason games. He also had to sit out the one in 2015 when he would have had his best team around him.
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But at this point it’s still hard to get past that Jan. 5, 2014, game against the Chargers when playing at home Dalton was flat-out awful and the Bengals were embarrassingly drummed out of the playoffs.
Dalton is 0-4 with one touchdown pass and six interceptions in the playoffs.
Foles is 2-1 with a 5-to-1 ratio.
The statistically sound decision is still Dalton because the larger body of work favors him… but it’s tempting to go the other way.
Given the opportunity to do something special, Dalton didn’t. Foles did — and he might not be done.
But, hey, Dalton could be just 11 or so months away from beginning to rewrite his own narrative.
Think he will?