Los Angeles

Nick Foles' Journey to Super Bowl Hard to Comprehend

Nick Foles stood at the lectern in the media room that resides in the bowels of Lincoln Financial Field with a slight look of bewilderment. 

This was well after the Eagles finished off the Vikings by a final score of 38-7 to advance to the Super Bowl (see observations). It was well after he was pulled from the game early to get a standing ovation from the loudest crowd he said he's ever heard at the Linc. It was well after the Eagles were awarded the George Halas Trophy and after the green confetti swirled in the air above their massive celebration at the 25-yard line. 

Now, he was standing there, wearing his gray NFC champion hat and T-shirt, trying to find the right words. It was really the only time he stumbled all night. 

"Words can't really describe what I feel right now," he said, shaking his head. 

Foles, the 29-year-old who almost walked away from the game less than two years ago (see story), had just played the game of his life to send the Eagles to Super Bowl LII (see breakdown)

But so soon after it all happened, Foles just couldn't put it into perspective. 

"I haven't even had time to comprehend what is going on, to be honest," Foles said. "I don't know if I ever will. When I was up on that stage, that's something you dream about as a kid."

Lucky for Foles, his teammates had no trouble explaining what he did to the Vikings on Sunday night in the NFC Championship Game. 

Foles shredded the No. 1 defense in the NFL (see report card).

"The guy was unconscious," his backup, Nate Sudfeld said. "He was making every right decision, making dimes all around the field, doing what we know he's capable of. I was really happy for him."

Before Foles was pulled in favor of Sudfeld with just a couple minutes left in the game, he put on an absolute clinic. 

Foles completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 141.4. 

Here's a list of players who have completed 78 percent of their passes for at least 350 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in NFL playoff history: Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and now ... Nick Foles. 

Foles is also just the third Eagles quarterback to ever throw for 350 yards in a playoff game and his passer rating is second in franchise playoff history. 

Sure, Foles once threw a record-tying seven touchdowns in a game, but Sunday's performance came in the NFC Championship Game and pushed the lovable underdog Eagles into the Super Bowl. 

"He was just playing with confidence and playing relaxed," said Alshon Jeffery, who caught two of Foles' three touchdown passes. "He was playing the game plan. That is what we expect and know what he is capable of. In 2013, he did the same thing. There are no surprises." 

Foles spent the entire week trying to act like he wasn't about to play in the biggest game of his life. He was loose, calm, he tried to stick with the same routine that allowed him to get to this point. 

It seemed to work. 

"All week he's been calm, he's been confident," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He's been energetic. He's everything we knew he was. He's been that way now for two weeks and it's shown on the field." 

Although the Eagles' offense sputtered on its first drive, there were opportunities to make plays and the Eagles saw them. They stuck with their game plan and eventually the field just opened up for Foles. The Eagles had an aggressive game plan and knew they would be able to attack the Vikings downfield. 

Foles said it didn't take him long to realize he was locked in and something special was happening. He saw it in his teammates' faces on the sideline and in the locker room. 

"Everyone was just locked in," Foles said. "I'm going to say it again: we lean on each other, we play for each other and that's what's special about this team." 

Foles isn't Carson Wentz. He's never going to be Wentz. And it's still a shame that Wentz was lost for the season on that December night in Los Angeles. But as owner Jeff Lurie said after the game, this is why they paid a lot of money and made bringing back Foles a priority. 

It seems like an awful long time ago on Christmas Day, when Foles really struggled against the Raiders. Back then, everyone thought the Eagles were dead, except for the Eagles. 

Foles said his teammates never doubted him. He would have known if they did.  

As Foles was asked about what Pederson said to him as he exited the game, Foles was finally able to reflect. He remembered that it was the Eagles who took a chance on him coming out of college. It was Pederson who led the only private workout he had before he got into the NFL. And now he's going to take that team to the Super Bowl. 

"In that moment," Foles said, "to win that game for him and this organization is something very special."

Turns out he found the right words after all.  

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