‘It’s Christmas. It’s Saint Nick’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If you brought the Nick Foles story to Hollywood, you might be greeted with a Rocky-like reception.
A little silly but that's what movies are made for right, to suspend one's disbelief and have a bit of a feel-good moment.
A sequel, though? Now, that's over the top expect it's happening again in real life.
Filling in for an injured Carson Wentz for the second consecutive week Foles finished 35-of-49 for a franchise-record 471 yards and four touchdowns, two to Zach Ertz and one each to Nelson Agholor and Darren Sproles, during a 32-30 Eagles win over Houston Sunday that kept Philadelphia alive in the playoff hunt.
"That's just Nick," coach Doug Pederson said. "... He's a guy that justs wants to continue to just help the team win and dish the ball and put it in our playmakers' hands. Really not getting much credit. Just let the other guys go it."
Ahead comfortably at 29-16 with a little over five minutes remaining an ill-timed Josh Adams fumble gave Houston life and Deshaun Watson was brilliant leading the Texans to two consecutive touchdowns and deflating the air out of just about everyone in attendance
That was only the setup for the latest Foles storybook win, though, a script made even more dramatic when the Super Bowl MVP hung in with Jadeveon Clowney bearing down, resulting in a 19-yard reception to Alshon Jeffery and another 15 yards tacked on when Clowney got flagged for nearly decapitating Foles.
Referee John Parry wasn't exactly the most popular person in Philadelphia during the game but made up for it there as Clowney's hit was devastating but clean.
"I didn't get an explanation on that," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "It's tot [the officials] fault. It was a pretty chaotic scene there with the quarterback down. I won't make a comment on that until I see it closely on the film."
"I do not think it was a good call," Clowney said bluntly. "Just playing football, trying to make a play. I feel like it was a good, clean hit."
Foles was forced to leave for one play but came back and a huge 20-yard throw to Zach Ertz followed by a big 16-yard draw play to Darren Sproles set the stage for Jake Elliott, who made up for missing a PAT earlier by sending the fans home with an early Christmas gift.
"He had a great day," center Jason Kelce said of Foles. "... Nick played lights out for us."
"He went out for one play and came back in and won the game for us," defensive end Brandon Graham added when discussing Foles.
For Chris Long, who finished with two sacks and a forced fumble as the defensive star, it was simple considering the calendar.
"It's Christmas. It's Saint Nick," Long, who built a mini-locker room shrine to his buddy earlier in the week, surmised.
"Chris is a character. We have a long history together, love him," Foles said when asked about Long's handiwork and his own effect on teammates. "I think the big thing is I just want to be me. I want the guys to know that when I go in there, that's who I am."
Foles took quite a while before appearing his post-game press conference and underwent X-Rays due to the Clowney hit but insisted he feels fine for next week in Washington.
"I am great," Foles insisted. "I feel great."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen