Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

“He said ‘man, he loved play­ing with me, he loved throw­ing me the ball, mak­ing plays,’” Jef­fery said. “He said we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for me. We wouldn’t have won the Su­per Bowl if it wasn’t for me.”

If you think Tom Brady would do that, try get­ting him to shake hands af­ter you beat him. GOAT whiner.

Is Foles the quar­ter­back you want to pay $20 mil­lion-plus an­nu­ally? The Ea­gles are mulling over op­tions to do a fran­chise tag-and-trade that ben­e­fits them and Foles. That deal is go­ing to make you ooh and ahhh more than the records Foles es­tab­lished each week he played. Un­til Sun­day, that is. Foles played like Pat Ma­homes in the first quar­ter as he guided the Ea­gles to a 14-0 lead.

It wasn’t just Foles although he was one of the cat­a­lysts.

The Ea­gles were in con­trol, lit­er­ally from the open­ing coin toss won by Bran­don Gra­ham with his call of tails.

Mo­ments af­ter the Ea­gles de­ferred, the Saints lined up for the first play of the game af­ter a big re­turn by Alvin Ka­mara.

Sec­onds later, Cre’Von LeBlanc, feel­ing at home in this domed sub­urb of the French Quar­ter, in­ter­cepted Drew Brees’ first pass, a deep ball in­tended for Ted Ginn, who hadn’t played in for­ever. Nei­ther had Brees, if you in­clude the bye week and his shut­down in the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale. Yeah, it was an­other case of Saints head coach Sean Pay­ton try­ing to show the foot­ball world how smart he is.

Foles com­pleted all six pass at­tempts, in­clud­ing a post­card per­fect 37-yarder to Jor­dan Matthews to give the Ea­gles a 7-0 lead.

The Ea­gles got a three-and­out from Brees, then marched 75 yards for an­other score, Foles reach­ing the ball over the goal line on a quick sneak. The dome crowd didn’t have time to crank up the vol­ume.

All told, the Ea­gles rolled up 151 yards and two TDs on 17 plays in their first two series.

But on the next three pos­ses­sions, the Ea­gles ran a dozen plays worth just 49 yards and an in­ter­cep­tion.

The rhythm was dis­rupted in part by an amaz­ing series of in­juries start­ing with Pro Bowl right guard Bran­don Brooks, who, in the silent snap for­mat, also sig­nals the quar­ter­back as to when the ball is hiked. He was carted off with what play­ers said was an an­kle in­jury. The NFL Net­work called it se­ri­ous. Ste­fen Wis­niewski re­placed him.

Then Fletcher Cox hurt a foot, Chris Long his back, Ra­sul Dou­glas an an­kle and Michael Ben­nett a leg. All re­turned to ac­tion.

The Ea­gles just couldn’t get back in a groove of­fen­sively. They went three-and-out in the sec­ond half.

And there was Foles, try­ing to keep the Ea­gles play­ing an­other day.

If this was Foles’ last game, he didn’t have the chance to tell all the guys in the hud­dle that he loved them, as per the mo­ments be­fore lin­ing the guys up in the vic­tory for­ma­tion to close out Su­per Bowl LII.

Last game with the teams ques­tions are awk­ward. An­tic­i­pated yet awk­ward.

“You know, I’m not re­ally go­ing to worry about it right now,” Foles said. “I think I’m just go­ing to do what I can to en­joy this flight back home with my team­mates, and we’ll see what hap­pens. I do know that we went out there and gave it ev­ery­thing we had tonight, and that’s where ev­ery­one has to keep their heads held high be­cause that’s what it’s about.”

Foles didn’t men­tion this but it’s also about do­ing what’s best for him and his fam­ily. He’s earned his op­por­tu­nity to start. And he wants it.

“Yeah, I mean, we’ll see what hap­pens in the fu­ture,” Foles said. “Once again, I’m not go­ing to spec­u­late on that. But yeah, I love to lead a team. I love be­ing in the hud­dle, be­ing a part of a locker room, do­ing that. That’s why I play the game.”

That’s why his team­mates played the way they did.

To sum it up, they didn’t give up, fought to the end and above all, stayed in the mo­ment with Nick Foles.

Bob Grotz cov­ers the Ea­gles for Dig­i­tal First Me­dia. You can email him at [email protected] Fol­low him on Twit­ter @Bob­Grotz.

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