After Ronald Darby intercepted a pass with just under a minute left to give the Eagles the ball back against the Raiders on Christmas night, offensive coordinator Frank Reich walked over to Nick Foles and delivered a message.
"Just be clutch right here," Reich said, recalling part of it.
Foles didn't have his best game Monday night. In fact, it was probably one of his worst; afterward, he admitted he needs to play better (see story). But the Eagles' backup-turned-starter was able to drive the Birds down the field 21 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.
Reich said that even when their offense was struggling mightily against Oakland, there was a sense they were still going to pull out a win.
How was Foles in that situation?
"He's an unflappable guy," Reich said. "He doesn't show a ton of emotion good or bad. That's one of the things that makes him so poised. I never felt like on the sideline that he was in a panic or concerned. There's always a sense of urgency. You hate it, it stinks ... when you're struggling to make first downs, it's terrible. But you've got to keep fighting one play at a time, one series at a time. And I think he did that and maintained that confidence to do what he did in the last drive."
Sure, a drive that goes 21 yards on five plays isn't exactly setting the bar high. And the Eagles are going to need Foles to play better if they have any hopes of getting through the playoffs. But as far as five-play, 21-yard drives go, this one was pretty good. And it set up Jake Elliott's 48-yard game-winning field goal.
First, Foles his Nelson Agholor for five yards, hit him again for eight, hit Zach Ertz for four, hit him again for another four and then the only incompletion came when Corey Clement dropped a ball that could have given them another first down.
"It wasn't a great performance but he goes down and makes three or four perfect throws to maximize the yardage on every throw," Reich said. "It's gotta be good ball placement on that crossing route so Nelson didn't have to slow down for it. Zach's going to the sideline. You need all those five yards on those catches. You don't need three, you don't need the throw to be down or behind him. You need it to be perfect and he was when we needed him to be."
Foles was perfect at the end of the game, but he was far from perfect for most of it. He completed just 50 percent of his 38 pass attempts for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His passer rating of 59.4 was the worst the Eagles have gotten from a starting quarterback this season.
Reich echoed head coach Doug Pederson, who on Tuesday, made sure to point out that the poor offensive performance wasn't on Foles alone. He said they all had a role, but Foles' role, as the quarterback, was just more noticeable.
"We talk a lot the whole year, the coach's mantra is ownership, the good and the bad," Reich said. "There's been a lot of good this year and we own it together. Sunday wasn't a good offensive performance and we own that coaches, players. We own that."