Nick Foles did it again! The reigning Super Bowl MVP led the Eagles down the field for a game-winning touchdown on the road in a playoff game that not many people gave them a chance to win.
With less than a minute to go, Foles threw a sidearm pass to veteran wide receiver Golden Tate III on 4th-&-goal for a touchdown with Chicago Bears defensive end Leonard Floyd in his face. It was another chapter added in the amazing postseason career of the veteran quarterback.
Even though his game-winning drive in the fourth quarter was impressive, Foles was also impeccable on third and fourth down throughout the game. According to Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Foles completed 73-percent of his passes on those downs for 79 yards, a touchdown and had a passer rating of 122.9.
In fact, if you just take a look at the Eagles’ final offensive drive, Foles made a key throw on third down to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to put them inside the five-yard-line. After the game, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke about Foles’ steady demeanor, which played a huge part in the team’s success in the second half.
“Nick is Nick. He’s gonna stay calm, he’s gonna stay collected. Just very efficient,” Pederson said (h/t ESPN). “It wasn’t pretty at times; I know the two turnovers early in the first half, which could’ve led to points — but he hung in there and did some great things.”
In his last four games, Foles has completed 82.6 percent of his passes for 431 yards, five touchdowns, an interception and posted a 132.9 quarterback rating on third and fourth down. When you have a quarterback, who is efficient on those money downs, it helps you extend drives. This was one of the main reasons why the Eagles were able to hang with the Bears.
When the Eagles scored their first touchdown of the game in the third quarter, Foles took a deep shot on third-and-nine to Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz earlier in the drive.
Despite Ertz not coming down with the catch, Bears safety Adrian Amos was called for unnecessary roughness, which extended the drive for the Eagles. Then a couple of plays, later on, third-and-five, Foles found his sure-handed wideout in Tate for a nine-yard reception to give Philly a first down.
There were many instances in Sunday’s night game, where the Bears’ defense had Foles and the offense pinned in third-and-six situations. If you are a Bears fan that is where you wanted him at, especially with your opportunistic defense.
However, time and time again, Foles turned those critical third-down situations into huge passing plays to Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Tate.
It just shows that in the playoffs you have to execute every play because it could be a huge difference between a win or loss. Thankfully for the Eagles, Foles was damn near perfect on third and fourth downs on Sunday, which they will need next Sunday against the No. 1 seed New Orleans Saints.