This time it was against the most dominant defense in football, on the road, late in the game with his team’s back against the wall.
He engineered a 12-play, 60-yard drive in the closing minutes and found trade-deadline acquisition Golden Tate for a 2-yard touchdown on fourth down to lift the Eagles over the Chicago Bears 16-15 in a wild-card matchup at Soldier Field. The Eagles advance to play the top-seeded New Orleans Saints in the divisional round Sunday (4:40 p.m. ET, Fox).
A Cody Parkey missed field goal from 43 yards out in the final seconds secured the win. Parkey made the original try, but Philly called timeout and successfully iced him.
“I was just talking a lot of trash to Cody Parkey. Just hoping that he would miss it or something,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “I think [defensive tackle Treyvon] Hester did a great job, I think he got his hand on the ball.
"Honestly, I had a feeling that somehow we were going to win that game. We knew that even though it took a lot of tries on the goal line, our offense would get a touchdown. Even when we gave up the big plays, we figured something was going to happen in our favor. We gotta keep believing and we were able to come out of this with a win.”
The Eagles were destroyed by the Saints 48-7 in New Orleans in Week 11. Afterward, Jenkins said he was bothered by his team's demeanor and some players' lack of fight. That game proved to be a turning point in the season. Philly won five of six after that to finish 9-7. The Eagles snuck into the playoffs thanks to a Chicago win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17.
Foles was a big part of that resurgence. He won three straight to close out the regular season in place of Carson Wentz, who is out because of a stress fracture in his back. Foles was the hottest quarterback in the league during that stretch, ranking first in the NFL in completion percentage (77.0) and passing yards (962) in those three games.
It wasn’t all pretty for Foles against the Bears. He threw a pair of first-half interceptions but stabilized in the second half.
“Nick is Nick. He's gonna stay calm, he's gonna stay collected. Just very efficient,” said coach Doug Pederson. “It wasn't pretty at times; I know the two turnovers early in the first half, which could've led to some points -- but he hung in there and did some good things.”
Foles tossed a touchdown to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert after a key pass interference on Chicago corner Prince Amukamara in the third quarter, then responded to nine straight Bears points by working the Eagles down the field for the go-ahead score with 56 seconds remaining.
It was a sprint-out to the right. During a timeout, Foles and Pederson discussed what the play should be, similar to the dialogue prior to “Philly Special” in the Super Bowl.
“We talked about it on the sideline,” Foles said. “We were over there talking and I figured, you know, from studying those situations where the game is on the line, they like to blitz and bring a lot of pressure. So, you know, why don’t we move the pocket and put one of our best guys on one of their guys and let them win.”
“He just came in the huddle calm, cool and collected, ol’ cool Nick,” said Tate. “He called the play. We kind of made a look at each other and the next thing you know, the ball was on its way and I had an opportunity to make a play.”
Alshon Jeffery, making his return to Soldier Field for the first time since leaving in free agency after the 2016 season, set the Eagles up with a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line with an 11-yard grab. He ended with six catches for 82 yards.
Tate was acquired from the Detroit Lions in late October for a third-round pick. Given that he is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, it wasn’t looking like a super deal, as Tate was pretty quiet during his eight regular-season games in Philly. A go-ahead TD in a playoff victory, however, is making that trade look pretty sweet at the moment.