Pardon the rest of us if we say we’re not so sure.
The reigning Super Bowl champion quarterback is kryptonite to the offseason set of golf clubs; the antidote to locker cleanout day. The Eagles’ future still belongs to Carson Wentz, sure, but the past and present continue to be dominated by a backup quarterback writing a legend that Wentz will be hard pressed to match.
Glance at the stat sheet from Sunday’s 16-15 NFC wild-card win over the Chicago Bears and you might not walk away that impressed. It was the least of Foles’ four playoff performances from a numbers standpoint: 25-of-40 passing for 266 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His quarterback rating of 77.7 — while a great number for a Vegas slot machine — was his first playoff rating that failed to hit triple digits.
And yet when you consider Foles’ entire day — bouncing back from two first-half turnovers, leading bookend touchdown drives in the second half and playing in a road atmosphere he called the most hostile of his career, all while playing with a couple of bruised ribs — it will go down as a sneaky underrated game on his Eagles resume.
“It wasn’t pretty at times,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said when asked about Foles. “But he hung in there and did some good things.”
The good things came against a Bears defense that was rated tops in the league and had humbled nearly every quarterback it faced in its breakout season.
Foles, who took back over from an injured Wentz in Week 15, opened the game by leading the Eagles on a drive that ended with a field goal. Those three points were big and not just because of Cody Parkey’s inability to collect three of his own at the end of the game. The Bears came into the game having allowed a total of 10 first-quarter points over its previous 10 games.
The rest of the first half was much more of a struggle with Foles throwing two picks, including one in the end zone.
But an Eagles defense that was up to the task kept the team in the game and Foles said he fed off the support.
“The game wasn’t going great in the first half offensively,” Foles said. “But our defense was keeping us in it and they just kept coming to the sidelines [saying] ‘We got you, we got you, we’re going to get you the ball back.’ They never turn, they never got upset. They just had our back.”
Foles’ first drive of the second half was a seven-play, 83-yard drive that took advantage of three Bears penalties and ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert that gave the Eagles a 10-6 lead.
The Bears reclaimed the lead with a Parkey field goal and a touchdown drive of their own, but the Eagles got the ball back at their own 40 with 3:47 left.
Because “Nick is Nick” (a truism repeated at least a few times by at least a few teammates after the game), everyone in the Eagles locker room said they knew what was coming.
“We knew we didn’t have to get that crazy,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We knew we could just eat up yards and march down the field.”
And the Eagles did. Foles hooked up on chunk-eating receptions with Goedert, Ertz and ex-Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery to get down to the Bears’ 2-yard-line. After three failed plays, Foles found Golden Tate sprinting and straddling the goal line for what would end up being the difference in the game.