As a Confident Nick Foles Goes, So Go the Eagles

Nick Foles didn't put up bad numbers in the first half of Saturday's 15-10 win over the Falcons in the divisional round. 

He just wasn't playing very well. 

Until the final drive of the half, the offense seemed stagnant and Foles looked more like the guy who struggled against the Raiders and Cowboys instead of the guy who threw four touchdown passes against the Giants. 

Then something changed. In the third quarter, Foles started cooking and the Eagles rode his confidence into the NFC championship game. 

"I'm sure the Patriots feel the same way with Brady," head coach Doug Pederson said. "The way he goes, they feel that energy. Same way with us. However your quarterback goes, you're going to feed off of that. You're going to feel that energy and you're going to feel that confidence. That's the way the team felt as the game wore on the other day."

After a lackluster 39 minutes to start Saturday's game, Foles and the Eagles took over at their own 7-yard line with 5:53 left in the third quarter. And Foles put together a masterful drive. 

He completed his first five passes of the drive for 68 yards, and although his last two fell incomplete (one was a drop from Jay Ajayi), he did enough to put the Eagles into field goal range. Jake Elliott drilled a 37-yarder that put them up for good. 

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Pederson said he didn't make a bunch of offensive changes at halftime. That would have been reactionary anyway. He explained that things just started to open up as the Eagles stuck to their plan. Alshon Jeffery got involved, Zach Ertz got more involved, the screen game worked. 

But more than anything, Foles just found a way to work himself out of a funk. 

"You feel like with veteran quarterbacks, they've been in games and they can kind of settle down and settle down early and calm down and get into that rhythm," Pederson said. "Feel that way with Nick, obviously, and the confidence I have in him." 

By the end of the game, Foles completed 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown, he didn't throw an interception. He didn't play a bad game. He didn't play a great game. 

He played just well enough for the Eagles to pull out another improbable win. 

During the lead up to the divisional round game against the Falcons, Pederson admitted he went back into the archives to watch old tape of Foles from previous seasons. He wanted to get a better sense of what types of plays would work best with his new starting quarterback. 

In the end, he didn't end up installing new plays or really changing what the Eagles offense has done all season. Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich simply tried to gear the game plan a little more toward Foles' strengths. 

"We felt real good with our game plan last week," Pederson said, "and we have to do the same thing again this week."

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