Bears Storm Back Behind Nick Foles to Burn Falcons
Nick Foles playing quarterback for the Chicago Bears seemed inevitable from the time they traded for him and the time came 5 1/2 minutes into the third quarter of Sunday's game in Atlanta with the Falcons.
Not surprisingly, it came after a Mitchell Trubisky interception.
Also as predictable, Foles came on and threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Bears back from a 26-10 deficit to a 30-26 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
"I would say that with Nick, he kind of has a history in these big moments of making things happen," Bears coach Matt Nagy said.
The Bears were down 26-10 after Trubisky's interception and a Falcons field goal, but Foles threw for three touchdown passes in the final 6:20, and had two more overturned on replay calls as the Bears improved to 3-0 on the season.
"We were struggling on third down a lot, we weren't producing points in the red zone and I just think that sometimes there is a gut feeling as to when to do it," coach Matt Nagy said of the flip. "That seemed like the right time."
Trubisky was 13 of 22 for 128 yards with a TD pass and interception when Foles came in, and Trubisky had trouble getting it to the end zone or completing long passes all day.
"I think the big thing is all of this is so new," Foles said. "I just wasn’t expecting this today. Obviously we went out there today and got a win as a team. I felt good out there. Not perfect. But I felt good."
Foles threw a 3-yard TD pass to Jimmy Grham with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter, then after a Falcons punt he threw a 37-yard TD to Allen Robinson. Robinson caught a 10-yarder and broke two tackles before going all the way to cut the deficit to 26-23.
After another three-and-out, Foles threw a third-down 28-yard TD pass to Anthony Miller coming across the middle of the field to put the Bears in the lead.
Tashaun Gipson sealed the win by picking off Matt Ryan on the Falcons' final possession after Atlanta drove to midfield.
Foles finished the game 16 of 29 for 188 yards with three TDs and an interception that was stolen out of Robinson's hands in the end zone, much the same way the Giants had taken the ball from him the previous game. The other interception was on a bobble by Miller that was overturned.
"It's unfortunate," Foles said. "We had two touchdowns called back. One, you know, in my history in the NFL, if it's 50-50, it usually goes to the offense.
"This time it didn't. That was interesting. That was a first for me. And then obviously the second time, it happens. That's part of the game."
When Foles started getting hot, the Bears defense seemed to catch fire as well. They'd been reeling under the pressure of Matt Ryan's passing and the running game with no help from their own offense until then.
The Bears forced four punts a missed field goal and Gipson's interception on the final six Falcon possessions.
"Having your offense go out there and push the ball down the field," defensive end Akiem Hicks said. "Maybe give us a chance to catch our wind before we go out and compete again.
"All those things play a role when it comes to momentum in the game, is making sure that you have a proper energy, start pushing things in your direction. It all benefits us."
To his credit, Trubisky spoke to the media after a benching and said the interception was just not seeing the situation right.
"I was trying to get him the ball going out the backside and I didn't see that defender in front of him," Trubisky said. "I just have to see in front of throws and make better decisions."
Nagy wouldn't say at game's end if he'd give Trubisky that chance. He wasn't saying if he'll stick with Foles now, although it seems a foregone conclusion.
Instead, he was still basking in the glow of 3-0, including fourth-qurter comebacks from 16- and 17-point deficits.
"There is something special about this group," Nagy said. "I don't know what it is but there is something special about this team and I love it. I'm proud of them. No one gave up."