MINNEAPOLIS — It was the drive of his life.
A game-winning drive he will never, ever forget.
Nick Foles, the Eagles’ backup quarterback for most of the season behind Carson Wentz, earned Super Bowl MVP honors on Sunday night.
He led the Eagles on a 14-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter that erased their only deficit and gave Philadelphia a dramatic 41-33 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Who would have thought a backup quarterback would give the city of Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title?
Not Donovan Mc Nabb. Not Randall Cunningham. Not Ron Jaworski.
Protect the street lamps.
Foles considered retiring a few years ago and thought about becoming a minister or going into the restaurant business. He even enrolled at Liberty University.
“That was a moment in my life where I thought about it and I prayed about,” he said of retirement. “I’m grateful that I made the decision to come back and play. I wouldn’t be out here without God, without Jesus in my life. I can tell you that first and foremost.”
Foles completed the drive of his career with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz with 2:21 remaining, capping a drive that lasted 7:01.
Ertz, running a slant, caught the pass and dived over Devin McCourty’s diving tackle attempt and into the end zone.
After a lengthy review — the ball touched the ground and popped out after Ertz crossed the goal line — the touchdown was upheld.
Did Ertz think the call would be overturned? “No, not at all,” he said. “If they would have overturned that, I don’t know what they would have done to the city of Philadelphia.”
The Eagles then forced Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to fumble with 2:09 left and turned the turnover into points. Jake Elliott’s 46-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining gave Philadelphia a 41-33 lead.
But this victory was all about Foles, who even became the first quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in Super Bowl history.
Foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception (which wasn’t even his fault). He had a 106.1 quarterback rating and led an offense that gained 538 total yards.
“I’m so happy for Nick,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “A lot of people counted him out and didn’t think he could get it done.
“I believed in him, the players believed in him. We just needed time. We needed time together to work out some things, and this whole postseason, Nick has shown exactly who he is and what he can do and what he is capable of doing.”
Yes, Nick Foles did this. The same Nick Foles whom several NFL teams didn’t want to sign when he was a free agent.
He gave the Eagles a 29-19 lead in the third quarter, using a run-pass option offense that troubled the Patriots’ defense for most of the night. But to the surprise of no one, Foles’ counterpart led his team on a comeback.
The Patriots rallied to take their first and only lead at 33-32 when Brady threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski with 9:22 left in the game.
It was time for Foles to take over, and he did.
“The Eagles played great offensively. Everybody,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Foles played good, the backs played good, tight end, receivers. It’s a good offensive team.”
And on Sunday night, they were great.
Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles came up big on football’s biggest stage. His numbers:
Passing TDs 3
Receiving TDs 1