A loss in the postseason typically brings about moments of reflection about what could have been.
That is sure to be the case for the Eagles, who fell to the New Orleans Saints, 20-14, in the Divisional Round on Sunday night.
But for Nick Foles in particular, his moments of reflection will be mostly about the time he spent with his teammates, forming relationships on and off the field that according to him, is what the game of football is really all about.
“The tough part about it, like I said, when it’s over, it’s over,” Foles said after the game. “I don’t regret anything. I’ll always play this game to develop relationships because that’s what makes a strong team.”
One teammate who was on Foles’ mind, in particular, was wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Foles-to-Jeffery has been a winning combination on so many occasions in the past, but in the fourth quarter in New Orleans, a Foles pass went through hands of Jeffery and into the waiting arms of Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, sealing the Eagles’ fate.
Jeffery, understandably dejected, lied facedown on the field while the Saints celebrated their impending triumph. Foles ran to his fallen teammate and consoled him. He continued to do so on the sidelines.
“You just tell him you love him. That’s what it’s about,” Foles recalled. “This game is tough. Not everyone can do it. In those moments, just tell him, ‘I love you. Let’s keep going,’ among other things that I’ll keep to myself, but that’s the general message and that’s what this team’s about.”
While that moment of brotherhood played out in front of a national viewing audience, there were plenty more that happened when no one was looking that in Foles’ mind carried the Eagles to this point of the postseason.
The locker room after the loss in New Orleans reflected that. There was no shame. There was no finger-pointing. There was no anger. Just the bond of working together toward a common goal.
The goal wasn’t reached this year, but that did not break the relationship the players have formed over the course of the season.
“We fought our way all season,” he said. “The guys are resilient. Our coaches are resilient. Everyone at the facility is resilient and they showed that, so everyone should be very proud of what they were able to accomplish.
“Ultimately, it wasn’t our end goal, but it’s like I said, everyone should keep their heads held high because we were able to pick it up the last four weeks or so and we were so close all throughout the year, and that’s a testament to the people that are in the facility, the guys in the locker room because most teams aren’t able to do that and fight like this team has.”
Foles’ uncertain future also brings about another part of the team he will think about: The fans.
“I think the big thing is what the city means to me,” he explained. “It’s always welcomed me and my family. It’s really been a joy to live there and be a part of everything and, you know, wear the green and wear the jersey.”
“No matter what, you can never take that away,” he added. “We were able to do some really special things. We’ll see what happens, but I’ll tell you this, I’ve enjoyed every single moment and it’ll always have a special place in my heart.”
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' game against the Saints in the Divisional Round.