Nick Foles has laid an egg before. Eagles fans saw it in an ugly win against the Raiders, and partially in the regular season finale against the Cowboys.
But he doesn’t seem to fold under pressure when it counts.
After leading the Eagles to a 15-10 victory over the Falcons in Saturday’s defensive struggle to advance to the NFC Championship game, Foles stands as the only Eagles quarterback ever to complete more than 69 percent of his passes without throwing an interception in a playoff game. He’s actually done it twice.
In fact, Foles is the only quarterback in NFL history with a quarterback rating above 100 in his first two playoff games (four years ago he posted similar numbers in a loss to the Saints).
Foles completed 23-of-30 (76.7 percent) for 246 yards and a 100.1 passer rating. His 76.7 percent completion percentage is the highest single-game figure in Eagles playoff history.
He managed the game.
“He wasn’t rattled,” Eagles running back Jay Ajayi said. “Every time on the sideline he was composed. That was big for us as an offense. As our defense kept us in the game, we still had drives that we needed to go out there and execute certain things and make sure that we got points on the board. He was able to keep us rolling and get the ball out.”
In his first playoff game back in 2014 (following a season that saw him throw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions), Foles put the Eagles ahead by a point with four minutes to go — but watched a weak defense led the lead slip as a good effort was squandered against New Orleans. In a similar situation this past weekend, a field goal near the goalline put the Eagles ahead by five with six minutes to go. But this time the defense came through.
“It’s hard sitting there watching, but at the same time you have complete faith in your defense because they’ve shown it all season and they did it once again,” a validated Foles said. “And why not happen that way? They’ve done an amazing job all season and they played great tonight against a really good offense and an amazing team.”
Foles did exacly enough for the Eagles to prevail, and will be called on to do the same Sunday when they host the NFC title bout. It was the absense of Carson Wentz that caused most of the country to pick against the Eagles last week, making them three-point underdogs. Whether or not Foles’ performance is enough to shed them from underdog status is yet to be seen, but his play is — if nothing else — confidence inspiring to fans.
“You guys doubted him. We never doubted him,” wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “We never said that. We believe in anybody lining up back there at quarterback. We believe that we still have 21 other guys out there.”