In Nick Foles' first appearance with the Bears last season, he threw three touchdown passes in the final 6:20 of regulation to turn a 26-10 deficit into a stunning 30-26 Week 3 victory over the Falcons.
Fifteen months later, Foles followed a similar script in his first action of the 2021 season, leading the Bears to a thrilling 25-24 comeback win over the Seahawks Sunday in snowy Seattle..
With the Bears trailing 24-14 in the fourth quarter, Foles engineered two scoring drives, capping the second one with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Jimmy Graham followed by a game-winning two-point conversion pass to Damiere Byrd with just 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Foles, who has served as the Bears' No. 3 quarterback this season, made his first start of the year in place of injured rookie Justin Fields (ankle) and veteran backup Andy Dalton (groin).
"When you go into a game like this, it just speaks to who he is, how he does things," said coach Matt Nagy. "He helped our team tremendously today to get the win. For that, I'm very appreciative."
Foles didn't learn that he was starting until Friday morning.
"That's why you always prepare and always stay ready," Foles said. "It's unfortunate that we're banged up at our position and guys can't play. But it was just my job to come in and be ready to help my teammates."
Jimmy being Jimmy: Graham's TD reception was typical of so many others he's caught throughout his illustrious 12-year NFL career. The former college basketball player ran into the end zone, turned his entire body back toward Foles, "boxed out" cornerback John Reid like he was battling for a rebound and made the contested catch.
"All I was looking for right there was, 'Who's covering Jimmy? Are the going to double him? All right, they're not double him. I'm just going to throw it to Jimmy and let him do his thing,'" Foles said. "That's Jimmy Graham, Hall of Famer."
Graham now has three TD receptions this year, 11 in two seasons with the Bears and 85 in his career, the fourth most by a tight end in NFL history behind Hall of Famers Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111) and Buccaneers star Rob Gronkowski (91).
Inching closer: Outside linebacker Robert Quinn recorded one of two sacks by the Bears defense, increasing his season total to 17.0. Quinn, who is headed to his third Pro Bowl of his career, is now just 0.5 sack behind Hall of Famer Richard Dent's franchise record of 17.5 set in 1984.
"Richard Dent is a household name around here," Quinn said. "To even be in that same conversation, it's an honor … It's definitely an honor, a blessing, for where I came from last year to now, from the guys just still believing in me, giving me another chance to re-prove myself. Luckily, I had the backing of the guys in the locker room, so it made this year a little bit easier."
Quinn's sack Sunday was a huge play; he dropped Russell Wilson for a 13-yard loss on third-and-4 from the 8 and Jason Myers followed by missing a 39-yard field-goal attempt wide left with 7:18 remaining. A successful kick would have given the Seahawks a two-score lead at 27-17 but instead kept the margin at 24-17, enabling the Bears to rally.
On the shelf: Five Bears missed Sunday's game with injuries: Fields, Dalton, left tackle Jason Peters (ankle), receiver/return specialist Jakeem Grant Sr. (concussion) and cornerback Xavier Crawford (concussion).
Nine others were unable to play due to being on the reserve/COVID-19 list: Running back Ryan Nall, receivers Allen Robinson II and Isaiah Coulter, tight ends Jesse James and Jesper Horsted, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr.
Stepping up: Although Johnson and Gipson remained sidelined, half of the Bears' starting secondary returned after missing last Monday night's game against the Vikings while on the COVID list: Safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Artie Burns. Nickel back Duke Shelley also was back after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury. Burns started Sunday but rotated with rookie sixth-round pick Thomas Graham Jr.
The Bears' depleted defense broke up six Wilson passes, two by Burns and one apiece by Graham, safety Deon Bush and linebackers Alec Ogletree and Bruce Irvin.
Watch the Bears' Week 16 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers at Lumen Field.