Philadelphia: Nick Foles could end up playing a new position when Carson Wentz comes back if he keeps this up.
Foles caught another pass in a clutch spot to spark a sputtering offence that looked out of sync while the defence picked up right where it left off last time it faced Atlanta.
After seeing their “world champions” banner unveiled, the Philadelphia Eagles took the first step toward trying to become the first team to repeat in 14 years by stopping Matt Ryan to Julio Jones on the final play again in an 18-12 victory over the Falcons on Thursday night.
Foles hardly looked like Super Bowl MVP until coach Doug Pederson called his number in the third quarter when the offence needed a spark. Foles caught a 15-yard pass from Nelson Agholor to extend a drive that ended with Jay Ajayi scoring the first of his two touchdown runs.
“It’s great to have it at the right time if you can catch a team (off guard),” Foles said. “Everybody loves a good trick play.”
Foles caught a 1-yard TD pass from tight end Trey Burton in the first half of Philadelphia’s 41-33 win over New England in the Super Bowl. That play was called “Philly Special” but Foles said “Philly Philly” in the huddle. This one was called “Philly Philly” and Pederson said he borrowed it from New England’s playbook. Tom Brady dropped that pass.
“Offensively, we were sort of misfiring a little bit,” Pederson said. “Just were looking for a big play, somebody to make a play. It felt like the right time.”
If the Eagles need any help at receiver once Wentz is cleared to play after knee surgery last December, Foles is ready to go.
Well, not really.
A sloppy, mistake-filled game that featured 26 penalties came down to Ryan throwing an incomplete pass to Jones in the left corner of the end zone on the final play from Philadelphia’s 5.
Jones couldn’t come down with Ryan’s pass from the 2 in the right corner of the end zone in Atlanta’s 15-10 loss in the divisional round in January.
“It was deja vu,” said cornerback Ronald Darby, who covered Jones on the last play this time around instead of Jalen Mills. “Jones is one of the best but we got the stop.”
A weather delay pushed kickoff back 45 minutes, forcing fans to wait a bit longer for the championship ceremony. Wearing his gold Hall of Fame jacket, former safety Brian Dawkins riled up the sell-out crowd with owner Jeffrey Lurie by his side and led a chorus of “Fly Eagles Fly.”
It was the most excitement for a while on a hot, muggy night that seemed more like an August preseason game than a playoff rematch. Both teams looked rusty after many starters didn’t play much in preseason.