The Eagles' 48-7 loss to the Saints was a low point in the 2018 season. As the Saints danced and celebrated on the field and the sideline in front of a party atmosphere in the stands, the Eagles sat thoroughly frustrated and embarrassed.
But through the disappointment and even anger, the team never turned on itself. Instead, head coach Doug Pederson maintained that the Eagles continued to practice hard, got healthier, and found a way to work harder. It showed in the 6-1 stretch they've created since.
Nick Foles wasn't on the field for that demolition. Instead, he was a bystander who saw the anger and the snowball effect of that game firsthand. He also saw the Eagles start the turnaround by winning their next two games before he took over at quarterback for the injured Carson Wentz. He offered a new perspective on how the Eagles pulled it off.
"When we played the Saints the first go-around, it was definitely a tough loss," Foles said Wednesday afternoon in his press conference. "When we look back, I thought that they executed well and there were times that we didn't do a great job as a team. But I think when we look back, we learned a lot about ourselves then.
"There was never once that we pointed a finger at one another," he added. "We continued to gain strength, we continued to believe in one another and trust one another through that process. Even in a game like that that didn't go our way, our team stuck together, and I think that tells you a lot about the people that work here."
There's a lot of effort that goes into keeping a team together that is on the brink of folding. Everyone had to follow the team's leadership and continue to work hard and turn things around despite the odds.
Meanwhile, four active players went into Week 11 with injuries that kept them out of the game. The following week, two of those players were put on Injured Reserve and the Eagles still were without six active players from injury. Players were called up, some off the street, to fill in the gaps and players new to the team were suddenly thrust into starting roles.
So, how did the Eagles battle through it?
"It's really about trust, it's about relationships," Foles said. "Everybody wants to know the secret of a great team. And everyone wants to make it about rah-rah and X's and O's and all that stuff. But from my experience, it's the team that has the best relationships, the team that trusts each other the most are the teams that are usually successful.
"There are some anomalies out there, but the teams I've been a part of, you go into the locker room and it's a cohesive group that really cares about one another. And my philosophy always is, in the fourth quarter, when the game is on the line, when you trust the men next to you, you're going to get it done more times than not. And this team is a testament to that."
Looking back at Week 11, it is amazing to see how far the Eagles have come. After a crushing loss, the worst ever by a defending Super Bowl winner, it would have been easy to phone it in. Instead, like a championship team, the Eagles learned from the loss and just got better.
Going into Sunday, Foles and the Eagles will carry the lessons from that win – without the negativity.
"That game has helped us become who we are today," Foles said. "It actually brought us closer together. It can separate a team, or it can bring us closer and it brought us closer.
"I think first off, don't worry about what happened. You can learn from it, but you can't dwell on it going into this game. It's a different game and it's really my philosophy, play one game at a time. Just worry about the moment."