Nick Foles needs two more touchdown passes without an interception to eclipse Peyton Manning and set an NFL record for most touchdowns without an interception to begin a season.
Foles, who has 19 touchdown passes, is aware of the record. But the Eagles quarterback barely bats an eye when asked about it.
Foles said he doesn't consider the record. He downplays the importance of setting it. He will concede that it's a good thing to continue throwing touchdown passes and avoiding interceptions, but only in the context of the Eagles' winning a game.
"The records are always team records," Foles said. "There's a lot of guys who are helping me. The line's giving me time to throw the ball. The running backs are doing a good job protecting and out on their routes. The receivers are running crisp routes and using their body to make plays. If the ball is in harm's way, the receivers are knocking it out. Stuff like that gives you the opportunity to be successful."
This is a snapshot of Foles' personality, or at least the public persona he's trying to create. Foles is private and deferential. He'd sooner talk about Riley Cooper's skills than his own. Yet his position ensures a public profile, and his statistics merit praise.
"Obviously, I'm aware of the numbers," Foles said.
But what he focuses on, he said, are the plays that could improve those numbers. He calls them the "misplays." There have been incompletions that could have been touchdowns. There were incompletions that could have been interceptions but fell to the ground or were near-misses.
In Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals, Foles threw an interception that was nullified by a penalty. He had a pass that Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson was in position to intercept before DeSean Jackson turned into a defensive back and knocked the ball away.
"There's going to be close calls where it's either the receiver or the DB's ball, but I'm going to try and put it in a spot where only our receiver can get it," Foles said. "And it doesn't always happen that way. The DBs in this league are pretty good. So I couldn't give you a number. I don't dwell on it."
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said that Foles has had "a couple of near-misses," which Schwartz said every quarterback has. His own quarterback, Matthew Stafford, averaged an interception per game during the last three seasons. Schwartz reasoned that interceptions are part of playing quarterback, comparing it to a placekicker who misses an occasional field goal.
"I don't think anybody thinks he's going to continue that through the course of his career. He's going to throw one at some time," Schwartz said. "And if he doesn't, he's probably not being aggressive enough. It just goes along with the job."
Foles told Detroit reporters during a teleconference this week that it's unrealistic to think about going through the whole season without an interception. But the question is: When will one occur?
Manning's streak earlier this season lasted until Week 5, when he threw one against the Dallas Cowboys. In 1960, Milt Plum lasted 10 games.
Foles spoke last month about his offseason emphasis on decision-making. He watched the league's top quarterbacks - Manning among them - and deduced that their decision-making sets them apart. Quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor said during the bye week that Foles has made mistakes, but they have not turned into turnovers.
Coach Chip Kelly said Foles seldom attempts passes that the coach questions on the sideline. He thinks the current streak is a testament to how smart Foles is with the ball in his hands.
The Lions defense has 12 interceptions. Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy leads the NFL with six. The Lions also have allowed 21 passing touchdowns.
"You don't think about the record, you don't think about stats," Foles said. "You think about going out there and playing the actual game, and the rest will take care of itself."
Wide receiver Jeff Maehl returned to practice after missing two days because of a concussion. Safety Earl Wolff (knee) and linebacker Najee Goode (hamstring) were out. Defensive lineman Clifton Geathers was absent for the second consecutive day for personal reasons. . . . Lions running back Reggie Bush (calf) and defensive end Israel Idonijie (knee) did not practice. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) was the best among four players who were limited.