Here are some highlights from Doug Pederson and Nick Foles' postgame press conferences after the Eagles' win over the Bears on Sunday.
On the play call for the game-winning touchdown:
Nick and I, we talked on the sideline, and we said let’s just run the sprint out. … We knew, had a feeling, that coach Fangio [Vic Fangio, the Bears’ defensive coordinator] – he’s a zero-blitz guy when you’ve kind of got to have it – and we felt like the best thing to do was to get them on the move at that time.
On Nick Foles’ record of late-game heroics:
He had some help. Golden [Tate] obviously making the play at the end. Alshon [Jeffery] made a big catch. Dallas [Goedert] made some huge catches. Zach [Ertz]. Just go around the room there. Nick is Nick. He’s going to stay calm, he’s going to stay collected. Just very efficient.
Again, it wasn’t pretty at times – the two turnovers early in the first half which could have led to some points. But he hung in there and did some good things.
On his decision to ice Cody Parkey in the last minute after doing so in the first half when it didn’t work:
I was doing it regardless. I wasn’t even thinking about the first half. I was going to use it [the timeout]. I wasn’t going to take it with me.
On his confidence in Nick Foles late in the game given Foles’ struggles for much of the game:
It’s playing quarterback in the National Football League. It’s not always going to be pretty. You have confidence in your offense, you have confidence in your quarterback, and you put it, quite frankly, put it in his hands to win. And he just does a great job of just staying in the moment, staying calm, and no panic. There was no panic on offense or on the sideline.
And even after we punted the football there, it felt like the defense got a three and out, [and] we just offensively said, hey, we’re going to put a drive together and score. And, you know, we set our mind to it, and we did it.
On whether it was the plan to run the ball a lot on first down a lot in the first half and less in the first half:
A little bit. I probably could have called a few more passes on first down early in the game. … I’ll look at that tomorrow and get better.
On going back to New Orleans after the Saints blew the Eagles out there earlier this season:
Yeah, it wasn’t very good the first time. And you know, we’ll take a look at that film. We’ll take a look at this one. I think we’re a different football team now than we were then. And we’ve just got to put a good plan together in all three phases. Go back down there, we’re on the road, it’s going to be in a dome, it’s going to be loud again, all those things, and it’s going to be a great atmosphere.
On his conversation with Doug Pederson about the play call for the game-winning touchdown:
We talked about it on the sideline. We had an option on the previous couple of plays, based on the look they would give us, to actually get to something like that. And we were over there talking. And I figured, from studying them in those situations, where games are on the line, they like to blitz and bring a lot of pressure. So why don’t we move the pocket and put one of our best guys on one of their guys and let them win. Doug and I discussed it, and he was all for it.
On what was going through his mind as he went to the line of scrimmage, snapped the ball and rolled out for the pass:
Really just reading body language. It’s really, you know, there’s two routes. Golden was primary. So it’s really just let him win. It’s really a simple play. And he did a great job of really selling his route, hesitation and getting out. And he’s got great hands, as you can see. And he made a lot of big plays for us tonight.
On whether he called on his past experience winning playoff games in his own mind late in this game:
Not really that. More so just what I learned on those stages is just how to calm myself in a chaotic moment. When there’s, you know, from the outside world, a ton of pressure. And just really simplifying it in my head. Getting in the huddle, looking at the guys that I trust, knowing that it’s all on the line for us and we’re just going to get the job done. It’s just belief in one another. That’s just from, you know, being around these guys, having the relationship. And that’s what wins games in the fourth quarter. We talk about brotherhood. Going to work every single day.
The game wasn’t going great in the first half offensively, but our defense was keeping us in it, and they just kept coming to the sidelines [saying] We’ve got you, we’ve got you, we’re going to get you the ball back. And I always talk about, like, they never turn, they never get upset, they just had our back. And it was ultimately a great team win.
On how often he and Golden Tate had practiced the game-winning touchdown play before this game:
That one? Once or twice. I just, I read body language and it comes down to trusting your guy to get open. And you know, he came up big tonight. He’s a playmaker. He made some great catches, and he’s really helped us a lot. He’s coming along.
On whether he is a different quarterback now than he was earlier in his career, when he threw interceptions early in games and didn’t recover from them:
Yeah. I think those games are tough, when you make mistakes early that hurt your team. And it can affect you, because you want to go out there and you want to help. And I think sometimes you can start forcing it. You can be a little gun-shy as a younger player.
But you know, what I’ve learned is, I talk about staying in the moment – good or bad. If I throw a couple touchdowns early, still, it’s 0-0: just keep playing, just keep playing. This, unfortunately, I made a couple mistakes, but still, the same thing: hey, just get back, it’s 0-0, just play. Trust your teammates’ play.
So yeah, absolutely, I pull on things that I’ve learned. I’m always learning. I learned a lot about, you know, myself tonight. I learned a lot about my teammates. And that’s where we continue to grow as a team.
And that’s that, you all keep asking me every week what’s gelling: it’s this continual growth through these games that we go through that really helps our team mesh. And, you know, we continued to grow tonight.
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