It had been 364 days since his last appearance, and more than a year since his last start, but Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles made the most of his opportunity on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
With starter Justin Fields and backup Andy Dalton out due to injuries, Foles’ name was called.
And Foles — who first rose to fame by leading the Philadelphia Eagles to an incredible win in Super Bowl LII after replacing injured starter Carson Wentz late in the season — led the Bears to a 25-24 comeback win on Sunday in the snow. The victory, Chicago’s fifth this season, was capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham and a successful two-point conversion pass to Damiere Byrd with 1:01 remaining.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 27, 2021
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 27, 2021
Foles has served as the third-string quarterback all season, and he said when he got the call to start on Sunday, he simply wanted to do his job. He certainly did that, throwing for 250 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
“I said it a couple years ago in a press conference … it doesn’t matter if you’re the first-string, second-string, third-string, you’ve got to know who you are as a human being and what your identity is,” Foles said in his postgame press conference. “It can’t be in this game. It’s got to be in something greater, and I’ve always said mine’s in Jesus Christ. I was a third-string quarterback tonight. I was just a third-string — that’s my label. But at the end of the day, that’s not who I am. I’m just Nick Foles. I just go out there and I play. I lean on my teammates. I go to work.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the first-string, second-string, third-string, you’ve got to know who you are as a human being and what your identity is…It’s got to be in something greater, and I’ve always said mine’s in Jesus Christ.”@NickFoles https://t.co/3uKTH0S2Jc pic.twitter.com/QIFwgB3Z0p
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) December 27, 2021
Last season, Foles replaced starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons with the Bears trailing 26-10, and he threw three touchdown passes in the final 6:20 to lead Chicago to a miraculous 30-26 win. He started from then on until he was carted off the field with a hip injury in Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings.
That game was his last as a starter until Sunday, with his only other appearance coming in Week 16 last December, a 41-17 blowout win against the Jacksonville Jaguars as he threw one pass that fell incomplete.
Following last season, the Bears signed Dalton and drafted Fields, so Foles entered the 2021 season as the third-string quarterback. It’s been a challenging two years at times, he said, but he talked in Sunday’s press conference about how he’s focused on finding joy in adversity and the trials he’s faced.
Foles, who said he plans to be a pastor once he’s done playing football, referred to the Bible passage James 1:2-3, which reads, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
“That sounds crazy,” Foles said Sunday. “Like, why if something rough is going on would you be joyful? I’ve said it many, many times — when you’re going through trials, you grow. If everything was good, how can you grow? You get complacent. So I understand with different trials, I get an opportunity to just keep working.”
Several times after the game, Foles praised his teammates and raved about their effort and work ethic:
"I was hoping we were going to go for two points. You might as well roll the dice right now and go for it."
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 27, 2021
He said it’s been a joy to compete with them, and no matter what role he’s had, he’s focused on staying ready.
“God presented an opportunity where I was a third-string quarterback, and I get to go to work and do those things and still stay ready and be able to impact my teammates by just going to work,” he said in his press conference. “I mean, it’s crazy … it’s been humbling but great at the same time because I’ve learned so much throughout these last couple of years.
“It’s been really good for me as a human being to go through it.”
When he’s not playing football, Foles is a co-host of the Mission of Truth podcast with former teammate and fellow believer Chris Maragos. The two are “striving to keep it raw and discuss the trials and victories that are behind all the lights,” according to the podcast’s Twitter bio.
Foles said he knows some people might not understand his ability to stay motivated as a third-string quarterback, but then again, he won Super Bowl LII MVP as a backup. Any opportunity to be with people is an opportunity to live out his faith in Jesus.
“I want to do that to the best of my ability and glorify God throughout it,” he said on Sunday.
Next up, the Bears will host the New York Giants (4-11) at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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