Matt Nagy Says He Won't Commit to Nick Foles ... Yet
Nick Foles was taken by surprise, even if no one who was watching the game would have been.
The call came to play for the first time in the third quarter and Foles delivered in a 30-26 comeback win by the Bears over Atlanta.
"It was just something where on the sidelines, coach (Matt) Nagy just said, 'Hey, you’re in. Get warm.' And it was just simple as that," Foles said.
It might have sounded the end of the Mitchell Trubisky era when Foles came in and threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes after replay overturned two other TD passes he threw to Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson.
No stranger to comebacks or even being the backup who comes in and delivers, Foles
Trubisky had completed 12 of 20 for 123 yards and a touchdown in the first half but the offense was bogging down. Then came the interception Trubisky threw in the third quarter to set up a field goal for Atlanta and its 16-point lead.
Foles came in and the process was as fluid as could be expected in the second half.
"I know you know this, but I've never called plays with him as the quarterback," Nagy told the media. "I've been on staff with him, but I've never called plays. So there's a little bit of trying to figure out the communication in the headset of what you like, what you don't like, just the simplicities of how you call a play; is it formation first, is it play second, is it play first and formation second? Little things like that.
"But there was just a calm out there that I really felt by him. You become a little bit one-dimensional and there were some plays that he did in those last couple drives where he got us in a good situation, and he made a lot of plays happen based off of his experience, and that's good to have and when you have that that's good."
Foles didn't want all the credit. It took an Allen Robinson play for the ages -- taking a short pass and knocking over two tacklers to score from 37 yards -- to make it possible. He had a short one to Jimmy Graham, a 3-yarder which was the same play Trubisky ran for a 2-yard TD in the first half.
Then he threw the third-and-eight pass deep for a 28-yard TD pass to Anthony Miller for the winning points. They cooked up a change to the play to burn the Falcons' coverage after seeing a look they knew they would get on a similar play earlier, and it worked with Miller coming across the field wide open with 2:06 left in the game.
"It really came down to, you know, we were down by a little bit and our defense did a great job of holding them, and just going out there and playing ball, trusting guys, watching the defense, watching the secondary, getting us good plays if need be and executing," Foles said. "You know, the way I approach the game is one play at a time, so.
"It's not easy coming in cold like that, but if you can approach it with a mindset of 'hey, one play at a time, you can't get all those points back in one throw,' that helps a lot. It was just something where on the sidelines, coach Nagy just said, 'Hey, you’re in. Get warm.' And it was just simple as that."
Foles had empathy for Trubisky's situation.
"I've been where he's been and it's not easy, but he was supporting me 100%," Foles said. "I know the emotions are real because I’ve been there. I’ve been there recently. But I’m grateful that throughout training camp and throughout the start of this season we’ve continued to build that relationship to where when something like this happens where it really sucks, it does, but we're able to be genuine and support each other through it all.
"And that's why this game, when you can do it the right way, is really special. Mitch Trubisky's an outstanding quarterback. He's got a bright career ahead of him. This is just one day."
It could be the final day, though, for Trubisky, although they say this is yet to be determined. Trubisky has no contract for next year and if Foles takes the job and runs with it, the Bears could find it difficult to pay anything to bring back their 2017 first-round draft pick.
"I think that's what we'll do is we'll go back and just kind of enjoy this one right now and we'll talk through where we're at and what we think is the best decision moving forward," Nagy said. "Honestly, we're not there right now. But I think that there's something here that we've just got to discuss and just go through and talk through the situation and understand there's these feelings that these kids are going through right now and I think we just want to enjoy the win right now."