Hoying completes 1st pass in frustration Eagle's 26-for-38 debut as starter no consolation: 'It feels more like a loss'

Eagles 10, Ravens 10 (ot)

November 17, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

A number of well-wishers tried their best to put a positive spin on Bobby Hoying's initial start as an NFL quarterback against the Ravens yesterday.

They pointed to his 26 completions in 38 attempts for 276 yards without an interception. The way he kept bouncing up after being sacked nine times behind a porous Philadelphia Eagles offensive line. And how he flawlessly executed the tying five-play, 60-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes of regulation to force overtime.

But Hoying was not consoled.

"This tie didn't do anything for us," the former Ohio State star said after Chris Boniol's attempt at a 40-yard, game-winning field goal sailed wide right. "It feels a lot more like a loss than a win. I've never played in a tie before -- high school, college or pro. It was just a long, frustrating day."

Instead of feeling satisfied with his impressive statistics, Hoying found several reasons to fault himself for failing to produce a victory.

"On the last series, I looked up and we had about 25 seconds left on the clock with the ball on their 17," he said of the overtime scenario.

"At that point, I thought we were going to put in our field-goal team. I've got to know in that situation to spike the ball and stop the clock. When we had to take a 5-yard penalty [illegal formation], that might have cost us a chance to make the field goal."

The big, blond quarterback also took the blame for most of the nine sacks, which resulted in 66 yards in losses.

"I was trying to do too much myself," he said. "They were using a lot of eight-man fronts and forcing us to throw the ball. But they did a good job congesting the passing lanes. I should have thrown the ball away rather than taking the sack.

"This is the NFL and you know the defense is going to bring the heat. You just have to stand in there and take your shots.

"But getting to play was fun, and I felt comfortable out there for the most part. I learned a lot from my mistakes, but the way it ended in a 10-10 tie was real weird."

Eagles coach Ray Rhodes had turned to Hoying after the ineffectual shuffling of veterans Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer had produced only four wins in the first 10 games.

Before the game, Rhodes said he would not allow his new quarterback to take a beating or suffer embarrassment. But, in the end, the coach decided leaving Hoying in the game was better than his alternatives.

"Bobby hung in there," Rhodes said. "He made some real good decisions on our one touchdown drive. He needs to get rid of the football rather than take a sack, but he kept taking his knocks and battling out there."

Veteran wide receiver Irving Fryar, who was Hoying's prime target with six receptions for 71 yards, was a bit more flattering.

"Bobby played good enough to win," Fryar said. "He did a great job of scrambling and finding the open man on the touchdown drive, and he made a great third-down pass to Freddie Solomon in overtime to give us a chance to win it.

"The players always had confidence he could do the job, and this game should have given him confidence in himself. Pressure is not new to him. He played for a big-time college in a lot of big-time games."

And no one has witnessed more of those games than his father, Vern Hoying, who traveled from Columbus, Ohio, yesterday to watch his son perform from his seat in the lower deck at Memorial Stadium.

"I know Bobby doesn't like to get hit that much," he said with a laugh. "He needs to make quicker decisions. But after all those sacks, he kept his composure and played fairly well. I'd give him at least a 'B' for his performance today.

"Heck, this was a big improvement over his first game at Ohio State," Vern Hoying recalled. "His first college series, he fumbled and then threw an interception. Yes, I'd say today was a whole lot better."

With that opinion, even a self-deprecating Bobby Hoying had to agree.

Pub Date: 11/17/97

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