A decision that seemed inevitable after the Bears' thrilling comeback win in Atlanta Sunday became official Monday when coach Matt Nagy announced that Nick Foles is the team's new starting quarterback.
Foles replaced an ineffective Mitchell Trubisky in the second half against the Falcons and threw three touchdown passes in the final 6:20 of the game to rally the Bears from a 26-10 deficit to a dramatic 30-26 victory.
Nagy told reporters on a video call Monday that the decision was made after he consulted with his assistant coaches Sunday night and then watched the game on tape early Monday. The Bears coach clarified that Foles will start Sunday's home game against the Indianapolis Colts and beyond.
"He's our starter moving forward," Nagy said.
Foles tossed three touchdown passes in a 4:27 span of the fourth quarter Sunday of 3 yards to Jimmy Graham, 37 yards to Allen Robinson and 28 yards to Anthony Miller. Foles had two other apparent TD throws in the second half, to Robinson and Miller, reversed via replay reviews.
The game-winner to Miller with 1:53 remaining came on a third-and-eight play that Foles changed at the line of scrimmage based on what he saw from the defense. In the huddle, Foles told Miller to run to the "L" in "ATL" in the end zone. Miller did, and that's exactly where Foles delivered the ball.
"In that two-minute warning break in the huddle during the TV timeout, they were talking through the mechanics of how they're going to get to that [play] if they show us a particular look on defense, and they did," Nagy said. "So that's just one example of the communication in the huddle, of that happening.
"There were several other plays that we had with them too that there was some ad-libbing, which is something that Nick has always done. That's a strength of his that he has. He's seen a lot of different defenses and I think that that will be something [that], when it's done the right way, can be very effective."
Miller was open on a nearly-identical deep route late in the first half, but Trubisky overthrew the speedy receiver on third down and the Bears were forced to punt.
"I think [Trubisky] mentioned it in his press conference [Sunday]," Nagy said. "It was a very similar play. Anthony was running down the middle, and we just missed it. Like [Trubisky] said, you've got to complete that ball. When you're in those situations, and a defense presents a certain look to you, you have to capitalize. We saw one that capitalized; one play that did and one play that didn't."
Nagy inserted Foles into Sunday's game with the Falcons leading 26-10 early in the third quarter. The move came after Trubisky had thrown a third-down interception on the Bears' first possession of the second half.
With Trubisky operating the offense Sunday, the Bears converted just 1-of-7 third-down opportunities. Their only successful conversion came on Cordarrelle Patterson's 3-yard run on third-and-one. On the other six third-down plays, Trubisky threw one interception and four incompletions and was sacked once.
Nagy reiterated that his decision to replace Trubisky with Foles came off the interception and was a gut feeling.
"The gut feel is almost like a momentum-type deal," Nagy said. "You realize that, 'OK, we have 10 points on the board.'
"Situationally, our goal going into this thing was we need to be effective in the red zone. We cannot come away with field goals. And that first drive, to have a field goal on that first drive, that field goal attempt, and then to miss it, drives me nuts. I don't like that. I don't want field goals.
"We're struggling on third down. We have 10 points. And then you get to the third quarter and we're struggling a little bit and it's an interception and there's just, you're down 16, it ends up being a gut feel, you know what I mean? It's what we felt at that time, what I felt. We went with it."