CHICAGO — I’ve seen all I need to see now: If there is any chance that Nick Foles becomes a free agent, he is the best option to succeed Eli Manning.
Go get Nick Foles.
If the Eagles do not franchise him to trade him, go get Nick Foles.
He won’t come cheap, no.
I would no longer be afraid to show him the money.
Buyer beware? What would the Giants have to lose?
It isn’t often you see a team believe in a quarterback the way the Eagles believe in Foles, the Miracle Man who declawed the Bears 16-15 to set up a showdown with his Westlake H.S. (Austin, Tx.) predecessor Drew Brees next Sunday.
Foles (25-for-40, 266 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) silencing Soldier Field and the Bears the way he did with the season on the line Sunday night only adds to his legend and offers more evidence that following in Manning’s footsteps on the big and bright New York stage would not make him blink, or scare him.
Lifting the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship a year ago was clearly no fluke.
“He’s the same guy whether it’s the first play or the last play, whether it’s the preseason or the Super Bowl,” Zach Ertz said. “I think his identity is not bound by football. He knows he’s gonna be the same guy no matter what happens on that field, and guys love playing for him.”
This is who Foles resembled on the fourth-quarter money drive that gets the Eagles to New Orleans next Sunday: the Super Bowl XLII and XLVI Eli Manning.
“What I learned on those stages is just how to calm myself in a chaotic moment when there’s stuff from the outside world, it’s a ton of pressure, and just really simplifying it in my head, getting in the huddle and looking at the guys that I trust and know that it’s all on the line for us and we’re just going to get the job done,” Foles said.
St. Nick versus the Saints.
All of flag-waving Chicago was in Foles’ ears. And Foles left all of flag-waving Chicago slumped in shell-shocked silence with his 2-yard TD pass on fourth down to Golden Tate with 56 seconds left.
Foles, you see, had 60 last yards to cover and 4:48 and three timeouts to cover them and seemed as if he were back in Philly scarfing down a Pat’s cheesesteak on a bench outside.
“We’ve seen him do spectacular things, so we have all the confidence in the world in him,” Lane Johnson said.
Complete to Alshon Jeffery for 15 yards.
Complete to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert for 10 more.
Complete to Nelson Agholor for 8 more.
Complete to Zach Ertz for 13 more.
Complete to Jeffery on third-and-9 for 11 more.
“You’re sort of reading through an area,” Foles said, “but you really want to get it to him.”
Two yards to New Orleans.
Fourth-and-New Orleans now.
Doug Pederson talking about Foles reminded you of Tom Coughlin once upon a time on Manning.
“You put it, quite frankly, put it in his hands to win,” Pederson said.
Pederson called a timeout and Foles suggested the play call. And Foles sprinted right and sidearmed the season-saver to Tate against Sherrick McManis. Tate tried to lure the nickel to sleep and broke out with speed.
“Nick just threw an absolute dime,” Tate would say. “If he throws that ball any further in front of me, maybe I can’t get to it, or any further behind me, maybe the DB has a chance to break it up.”
When Pederson iced Cody Parkey with a timeout — before Parkey made the attempt that didn’t count — and Parkey’s 43-yard field goal incredibly hit the left upright and crossbar with five seconds left, it was time for Destiny’s Darlings to worship at the altar of their St. Nick.
“Just a very calm, cool, collected guy,” Tate said. “He doesn’t put too much pressure on himself, or doesn’t seem like it.”
The mark of a champion quarterback is when he is bloodied and decked and wills himself back up, and Foles explained why his two first-half interceptions wouldn’t faze him.
“I think sometimes you can start forcing it,” Foles said. “You can be a little gun-shy as a younger player, but what I’ve learned, I talk about staying in the moment, good or bad.”
The moment is good. Maybe even Super good again for St. Nick.