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How Nick Foles recaptured his Super Bowl MVP form

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Young: Foles deserved starting job when he won Super Bowl (0:41)

Steve Young discusses Nick Foles' success, saying he believes Carson Wentz should have had to earn his starting job back. (0:41)

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles described the inside of the huddle during Super Bowl LII as peaceful.

"It shouldn't be," he said Thursday, "but it was."

Given the size of the stage and stakes of the game, that's not the state of mind you might expect, especially from a backup playing opposite Tom Brady while representing a city that had never won a Super Bowl before.

But it was the daunting nature of the whole deal that actually forced Foles to narrow his focus from the giant mountain in front of him to the stones underneath his feet. Once he did that, the anxieties melted away and he was able to play freely.

"There's a lot of things that go on through the course of the day, and if we're focused on the future, we really can't address what's going on now, and then we become so overwhelmed with everything that we can't even function," he said. "What I try to do is simplify it in my head and really just hone in on the moment so I can be the best me in that moment."

That was one key discovery during the team's improbable Super Bowl run last season that is serving Foles well this time around, and has brightened his prospects as a potential franchise quarterback.

The Eagles are 2-0 since he stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz in Week 15. He has completed 74 percent of his throws, is averaging 9.3 yards per attempt (more than 2 yards above his career average) and has thrown four touchdowns to two interceptions over that time. The offense has scored 30-plus points in those games after hitting that mark just once in the previous 13 outings. As safety Malcolm Jenkins put it, "he's pumped life back into this team, the offense, playing phenomenal right when we need it." Thanks to the late surge, the Eagles (8-7) can get back to the playoffs with a victory over Washington and a Vikings loss to the Bears on Sunday.

Another revelation that carried over came during his crash course with the coaching staff late last season. They pored over his old film, particularly from his high times with Chip Kelly, to see what worked. Foles discovered that he is at his best when he "is not even thinking; just read and react." So they loaded him up with concepts that he knew backward and front, particularly quick-read plays like RPOs (run-pass options) that allow him to grip and rip. His game has taken off since the system was properly tailored to account for how his "brain works."

"I learned a lot about me as a player. I think the coaches learned a lot, too, about how to incorporate everything to fit me, to fit our team," said Foles, who turns 30 next month. "And that's something that I'll take for however long I play this game is ... going into a game, I need to be comfortable with what I'm playing."

The transition from Wentz to Foles was a bit bumpy late last season while the Eagles searched for Foles' sweet spot. There is less of a learning curve this time around.

Admittedly, his start to the 2018 season while Wentz was still on the mend from his knee injury was a little rough. Foles says he was putting too much pressure on himself coming off his Super Bowl MVP.

But on the other side of that was confidence from what he and the team accomplished, Foles said. He pointed to the Eagles' ability to shrug off adversity in a been-there, done-that fashion during Sunday's game against the Houston Texans as a main reason they came out on top in a 32-30 thriller.

"We played at a high speed because we weren't afraid of making mistakes and we were playing for one another," he said. "That's how we win. It's not going to be perfect ... but if you have that brotherhood and you know how to fight through adversity, you can win any game."

Foles says he still has moments when anxiety overtakes him, but his experiences from last season have helped provide the tools he needs to ride those waves out.

"I've learned how to handle them," he said, "and revert back to that calm and that peace."