Long before Nick Foles became a legend in the city Philadelphia as a Super Bowl MVP, he got his first playoff experience against the same team he'll face this weekend.
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Foles' first playoff game was against the Saints on Jan. 1, 2014 at Lincoln Financial Field. It was the first (and only) playoff game under Chip Kelly and Foles had just completed his magical 27-2 Pro Bowl season in 2013.
He led the third-seeded Eagles into the wild-card round against the sixth-seeded Saints.
The Eagles lost that day, 26-24.
Here's what Foles remembers about that game:
Last time I played them was 2014. I think a lot of the same questions about me and Drew (Brees), Westlake (High School). Playing against him then, I was a younger player. It was something that was really special. Getting to play against someone you looked up to. And I still do, he's a guy who does things right.
But a lot has happened since then. I mean, life's happened. Definitely a different player. That was a learning experience for me, carried into the playoffs last year. Anytime you experience something like playing in the playoffs, you can use that going forward. That was my first real taste of it, but unfortunately we lost that game. They got the better of us. We're working towards a better outcome right now.
What most fans probably still remember about that game was that Foles actually left the field for the last time that day with a lead.
Down 23-17, Foles and the Eagles got the ball back on their own 23-yard line with just 7:59 left on the clock. Foles led the Eagles down the field on an eight-play, 77-yard drive that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz. Shady McCoy had a few big runs, Riley Cooper caught a pass and the big play of that drive came on a deep ball to DeSean Jackson. The ball was actually underthrown, but Jackson came back to the ball to draw a DPI that picked up 40 yards.
After Alex Henery hit the PAT, the Eagles were up 24-23. But Foles didn't get another chance and Brees led the Saints down the field 54 yards to set up a 32-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Shayne Graham made this one. Sunday in Chicago was starting to feel awfully familiar until Treyvon Hester tipped Cody Parkey's field goal and it double-doinked.
Since that game back in 2014, a lot has happened. Foles was traded, struggled, nearly retired, re-found his love for football, came back to Philly as a backup and then led the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship.
That game was over five years ago. Foles is certainly a much different guy and maybe that experience played a role.
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