By The Sports Xchange – UPI
Stay in the moment.
Foles, who was backing up Carson Wentz less than two months ago, was thrust into the spotlight after Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in December. Now, he is getting ready to play the biggest game of his life against a team that is making its eighth Super Bowl appearance in the last 17 years.
“This is a big moment,” Foles said Wednesday. “The Super Bowl. Something you dream about as a kid. But at the same time, it’s another game.
“Once we get out there (to Minneapolis), where the Super Bowl will be played), you have to just trust your preparation, do what you have to do daily and eliminate the distractions – and they’ll be there – and go out and play together on Super Bowl night.”
The Eagles punched their ticket to their first Super Bowl in 13 years Sunday with an impressive 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Foles had an outstanding performance against the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense, completing 26-of-33 passes for 352 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
“We worked our tails off all offseason, all spring, all summer trying to improve our third-down play, our red-zone play,” tight end Zach Ertz, who had a team-high eight catches against the Vikings, said. “We were out there grinding against our defense all offseason trying to perfect those situations, and it paid off.”
The Eagles were ranked first in third-down efficiency for much of the season until Wentz went down in Week 14. They converted just 8-of-35 third-down opportunities in December with Foles as the starting quarterback. He completed just 11-of-27 third-down pass attempts.
But he’s been a different quarterback in the postseason. In the Eagles’ two playoff wins, he has completed 15-of-18 third-down passes for 229 yards. Two of his three touchdown passes against the Vikings, who had the league’s best third-down defense during the regular-season, were on third down.
“Nick has always been a calm guy,” Ertz said. “Never got too high, never got too low. He did hit some lows in his career (Foles admitted he considered quitting football two years ago after being released by the Rams). He’s been open about that.
“But we’re extremely grateful that he decided to come back and play last year (with Kansas City) and signed with us this season. I don’t think we’d be in this situation right now and as confident as we are without him.”
SERIES HISTORY: 14th all-time meeting. Eagles lead series, 7-6, but the Patriots won the most important matchup, a 24-21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Eagles won the last meeting in 2015, 35-28. But the Patriots have won four of the last five meetings, including the Super Bowl victory.
–Nick Foles completed 4-of-5 passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air against the Vikings on Sunday. Prior to that, he was just 2-for-13 on 20-plus yard throws.
“Everybody knows that Nick is a good deep-ball thrower,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “We said it right from the very start. He’s not afraid to throw it (deep). He wants to throw it (deep).”