Nick Foles stood tall in the pocket Nyheim Hines Jersey , ignored the pressure and made one big throw after another.
On the biggest stage of his life, Foles silenced the critics who thought the Eagles couldn’t get to the Super Bowl without MVP candidate Carson Wentz. Foles threw for 352 and three touchdowns to lead Philadelphia to a convincing 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game Sunday.
Now he’s headed to Minnesota to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
”Words can’t describe what I feel right now,” Foles said. ”All glory goes to God. I’m grateful and humbled to be part of this team. No one in the locker room doubted me. We kept working, I got more reps in practice and it’s a rhythm thing.”
While Wentz watched from the sideline, using a cane to walk following surgery to repair his torn left ACL, Foles picked apart the NFL’s top-ranked defense. He tossed a perfect 53-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery with the pocket collapsing around him to give Philadelphia a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.
Foles then directed a 60-yard drive in 29 seconds to set up a field goal before halftime. He fired a 49-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith off a flea flicker to start the second half and tossed a 5-yard TD to Jeffery early in the fourth to make it 38-7.
Foles was at his best on third downs, completing 10 of 11 for 159 yards and two TDs. The Eagles had been 0 for 13 on third-and-10 or longer after Wentz went down. On Sunday, Foles threw an 11-yard pass to Zach Ertz on third-and-10 on the Eagles’ first touchdown drive. His long TD pass to Jeffery came on third-and-10.
The Eagles (15-3) have been underdogs in both playoffs games, mostly because Wentz was no longer playing. They were the first No. 1 seed not favored in a divisional round game, a 15-10 win over the Falcons. The Vikings (14-4) were 3-point favorites despite also being led by a backup quarterback – Case Keenum, Foles’ good friend and former teammate.
”You know everyone was against us,” Foles said. ”Coming out here, stick together and come away with an amazing victory against a great team.”
Keenum congratulated Foles in the tunnel after the game.
”He did a great job,” Keenum said.
Foles walked into the X-ray room after the game, but told The Associated Press after he came out: ”I’m good. I’m fine.”
Foles put on a passing clinic, completing 78.8 percent of his passes (26 of 33). Not bad for a guy who contemplated retirement before the 2016 season.
”I’m not surprised,” said Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who held the same position with the Eagles in 2013. ”I’ve seen the best of Nick.”
A third-round pick by former Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2012 Jacoby Brissett Jersey , Foles had tremendous success as a starter under Chip Kelly his sophomore season. He threw 29 TDs and only two picks in 11 starts, including playoffs in 2013. Foles posted a passer rating of 119.2, third-highest in league history. He tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a game at Oakland in November 2013 won an offensive MVP award at a Pro Bowl.
But Foles was traded to St. Louis for Sam Bradford in March 2015. He lost his starting job to Keenum and asked for his release after Jared Goff was drafted No. 1 overall. Foles considered hanging up his cleats before Reid persuaded him to go to Kansas City to be Alex Smith’s backup.
After one season with the Chiefs, Foles returned to Philly to provide insurance behind Wentz.
He’ll become a folk hero if he can deliver the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl title.
Paul Goldschmidt struck out his first two at-bats against Jack Flaherty, once on a slider. With two on in the fifth inning, Goldschmidt fell behind against the St. Louis right-hander and laid off two sliders like the one he chased earlier.
Another slider found too much of the plate and the reigning NL player of the month sent it over the wall in right.
Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer, Zack Greinke pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks ended a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
”Paul’s gifted,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”You can’t make mistakes like that. He’s going to make you pay.”
Greinke (9-5) gave up two runs in the second inning to end his 13-inning scoreless streak but was otherwise sharp in winning his fourth straight game. Yoshihisa Hirano needed one pitch to get a groundout with the bases loaded in the seventh and extend his team record with a 26th straight scoreless appearance.
Brad Boxberger worked around a walk in the ninth for his 20th save in 24 chances.
Goldschmidt had the big blow, following a four-hit night Monday with a three-run homer off Flaherty (3-4) in the fifth inning. The NL player of the month for June, Goldschmidt is hitting .413 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs his past 26 games.
”It wasn’t the best slider I had thrown all night and you get a guy like that, who is red hot like that, he put a good swing on it,” Flaherty said.
Greinke entered Tuesday’s game with the 13-inning scoreless streak after tossing seven scoreless innings against Miami his last start. His streak lasted one more inning; the Cardinals scored two runs in the second inning on Yairo Munoz’s single and Kolten Wong’s sacrifice fly.
Greinke shook off the shaky second by mixing his pitches well, keeping the Cardinals off-balance with low-90s fastballs and looping curves that dipped to 63 mph. He was lifted with two outs in the seventh inning after giving up consecutive hits, allowing two runs on seven hits and four strikeouts.
”I felt good, there was good defense behind me and we scored some runs,” Greinke said.
Flaherty allowed four runs on six hits in six innings in a loss to Cleveland his last start. He was sharp after giving up David Peralta’s run-scoring single in the first inning, retiring 10 straight batters.
Flaherty ran into trouble in the fifth inning Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey , giving up a double and hitting a batter before Goldschmidt lifted a three-run homer just over the wall in right to put Arizona up 4-2.
Flaherty allowed four runs on four hits and struck out seven in six innings.
”He threw the ball well,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”(He) got into a tough situation with a good hitter, got to two strikes, the guy got the best of that matchup, but overall his stuff was very good today.”
Lovullo brought Hirano’s translator, Kelvin Kondo, with him to the mound after making a pitching change in the seventh inning, just to make sure the Japanese right-hander was clear on what he wanted. The mound meeting turned a bit chaotic when Lovullo left the mound and Kondo was still talking to Hirano.
Under big-league rules, a translator has to stay next to the manager while on the mound, so when Lovullo started to walk away, plate umpire Bill Welke started shouting and told Kondo to leave the field.
”I didn’t even know what was going on up there. It was crazy, chaotic,” Lovullo said. ”There’s a clear rule and it’s so new to us having the interpreter and exchanging information. I just left the mound too soon, the dirt area too soon and that was my responsibility to stay there until all the instructions were made.”
Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (broken left hand) went 0 for 4 for Triple-A Memphis on Monday night, his third rehab game with the Redbirds.
Diamondbacks: RHP Randall Delgado (strained left oblique) allowed a run on three hits in an inning for Triple-A Reno Monday night in a rehab appearance. … OF Steven Souza Jr. went 1 for 4 with a solo homer for the Aces as he works back from a strained right pectoral.
Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin has allowed a run in 13 innings his past two starts heading into Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals. St. Louis sends out RHP Miles Mikolas, who lost his last start despite allowing a run in 6 2/3 innings against Atlanta.