Nick Foles' 2013 regular season started out with him sitting on the bench, watching as Michael Vick led the Eagles offense. After an injury opened the door, Foles stepped in and never looked back. He finished the season as the starting quarterback for the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles, capping off the regular season with a heart-pounding 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
The Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but the Cowboys kept fighting back. In a way, the game was symbolic of the Eagles entire season. Just when it looked like things were about to crumble around them, they hung tough. After the game, Foles spoke about the way he and his teammates responded to tough situations all season long.
"When you play quarterback, and I've believed this since I was a kid, and that's why I play this (position)- in times of adversity, (your teammates) are going to look to the quarterback to see how he's reacting," said Foles. "There's going to be some adversity in games, and we overcame it today as a team. It's an exciting game to win, I had a blast out there. Defense was coming up big. Special teams played really good ball, and offensively we were able to put some points on the board.
"In those times of adversity, the game is not over. There is still time on the clock, that's how I look at it. I'm going to play until that clock says zero, and I'm going to play as hard as I can. I'm not going to let one play unravel me. There are going to be things that happen, but you have to keep playing."
Dealing with pressure for most of the night, Foles managed to finish the game 17-26 for 263 yards and two touchdowns, finishing with a 124.4 passer rating. It was a night of redemption for Foles, who threw for just 80 yards in his last meeting with the Cowboys.
When asked about his performance, Foles, in his typical manner, praised his teammates for helping him along the way.
"It's exciting and it just shows you that Chip (Kelly) has done a great job and this coaching staff has done a great job," Foles said. "The players have done a really great job of buying in, and when adversity happens throughout games, and I've talked about it before, the guys really stay together. We lean on each other. If we go three-and-out, the defense is right there to say we got you. I fumbled the ball, the first thing that DeMeco said was 'We got you', and that's what a team is. It's about having each other's backs and playing for each other until the whistle blows. When you're playing for each other, you can get through those adverse times."
After starting the season 3-5, the Eagles stayed together. There were questions about all phases of the team: Could the offense make necessary adjustments? Would the 3-4 defensive scheme work? Did Nick Foles have what it took to lead the Eagles? After a season of ups and downs, capped off by an improbable run to the NFC East title, Foles and the Eagles answered all of those questions with a resounding "Yes."
"We believed in each other the whole time," said Foles. "We knew that it was a process. When you're building something, when you're building a company, when you're building a team, when you are building anything, you have to realize that it's a process. There are going to be growing pains. You're going to have moments where it looks great, and you're going to have moments where you aren't doing so good, but it's during those times that you stick together. You keep the path, you keep believing in what you're doing, and you adjust. You have to make adjustments- players as well as coaches adjust every day. If we get beat through a game, we're going to make corrections on it. We're going to move forward and make sure that we're better the next week.
"The guys have done a great job coming to work every day and pushing each other. There wasn't a day where we sat back and just went through the motions. We pushed each other to get better, and we have to continue to do that. Just because we won the NFC East title, that doesn't mean that we can just coast. We have to keep working and keep progressing every single day."