When the Bears traded for Nick Foles in March, they acquired a veteran quarterback with an impressive résumé who possessed a familiarity with their offense and coaching staff.
On a special Sunday in Atlanta, Foles showed why he was so coveted by the Bears. The ninth-year pro replaced an ineffective Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter and threw three touchdown passes in a 4:27 span of the fourth period, turning a 26-10 deficit into a thrilling 30-26 win over the Falcons.
"I would say that with Nick, he kind of has a history in these big moments of making things happen," said coach Matt Nagy. "There was just a calm out there that I really felt by him. He made a lot of plays happen based off of his experience, and that's good to have."
Foles rallied the Bears by throwing touchdown passes of 3 yards to Jimmy Graham, 37 yards to Allen Robinson and 28 yards to Anthony Miller on third-and-eight with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter. Foles actually tossed five TD passes in the second half, but two were reversed following replay reviews.
"His execution and really taking over the kills and the calls was pretty special," said Graham, an 11-year NFL veteran. "He was out there ad-libbing a bit for sure and checking and changing some plays. There's one play called, I'm like, 'We got that?' So it was pretty cool to see and pretty cool to be a part of."
Foles' most impressive throw came on the game-winner, launching the ball to Miller in the end zone despite being pressured by Falcons linebacker Mykal Walker.
"We sort of had two plays on," Foles said. "We didn't know if they were dummying their look; they had sort of got me earlier in the game and swiped back to two-high safeties when it looked like they were bringing everyone, so we were able to configure a pretty cool little two-play play.
"They showed what we call a zero blitz, and we were able to check it and get the ball snapped quickly. The line did their job to give me just enough time to throw and 'A-Mill' was right where he needed to be to catch it, and he made a great play. So that's a fun way to win a game: when they bring one more than you can handle and we execute it."
Throughout his career, Foles has excelled when coming off the bench. He replaced an injured Michael Vick with the Eagles in 2013 and led Philadelphia to the NFC East title, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl by passing for 27 touchdowns, two interceptions and a NFL-leading 119.2 passer rating.
After one-year stints with the Rams and Chiefs, Foles returned to the Eagles in 2017. When starter Carson Wentz sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 14, Foles stepped in and helped lead Philadelphia to the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.
In three playoff wins, Foles threw for 971 yards and six touchdowns with a 115.7 rating. He earned MVP honors in Super Bowl LII after leading the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots by passing for 373 yards and three TDs with a 106.1 rating and catching a 1-yard touchdown pass.
Foles is his first season with the Bears, but he has a history with Nagy and two of his assistants. Nagy worked with Foles as an offensive quality coach with the Eagles in 2012 and Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2016. New Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was Eagles quarterbacks coach in 2013, while new Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo worked with Foles as Eagles quarterbacks coach in 2017 and Jaguars offensive coordinator last season.
Nagy has seen Foles work his magic up close before, but Sunday was quite an experience for teammates who haven't played with him before.
"What he did was nothing short of amazing," said ninth-year safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. "I definitely tip my hat off to him. We go against him a lot in practice. The guy can make every throw. Big, strong, tall guy. He's a Super Bowl winner. He's been a true pro. I've had plenty of personal conversations with him. He's just a really good dude off the field, and you've got to be happy for a guy like that."