like that's when we're at our best — when we're giving the runs opportunities, and sometimes it takes a while for the runs to open up and be impactful.
“There's obviously play-action passes that are married to those runs and they have an impact. … We were able to hit some of those throws down the field and change field position and create scoring opportunities.”
Now, as they prepare for the NFL's second-best run defense — Chicago is No. 1 — they know what they must do.
“It's similar to last week,” center Jason Kelce said. “They don't really have a weakness. … More than anything, they really play well together, they're wellcoached, they play hard, they play physical and they fly around and they play together, they play as one unit.
“So they do a lot of good things structurally, they do a lot of things from an effort standpoint. And whenever you combine those two things along with good players, you're going to have a good defense.”
Kelce is not a proponent of sticking with the run when it's not working, however.
“The better we've been able to run the ball, the better our offense has tended to fare,” he said, “but if the run is not working, if I'm the head coach, I'm not calling run plays anymore.”
The key for the Eagles in this rematch is not allowing themselves to get to this point, even though they have a quarterback now in Foles who has been much more successful recently than Wentz has ever been in games skewed by lopsided run-pass ratios.
The Eagles are just 2-10 when Wentz has been forced to throw 40 or more passes, including 0-2 this season.
By contrast, they are 3-1 in the same situation with Foles since his return to the Eagles in 2017, including his last two playoff games (25-for-40 vs. Chicago last week and 28-for-43 vs. New England in Super Bowl LII).
Nevertheless, they'd prefer not to have to go there with any quarterback.
And who can blame them?
That's just not a preferred route, even in today's wide-open game.
That said, the Eagles are going to need a lot more than seven points to come away with a different outcome this time around.
A lot more.
They're probably going to have to win a track meet with less offensive firepower than the Saints, whose offense starts with the NFL's all-time leading passer, Drew Brees, and features a vast array of receivers and backs who complement him perfectly.
Pulling the strings on that operation is perhaps the finest play-caller of this era in coach Sean Payton.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is just happy that the scoreboard has been reset as his newfangled unit, which has lost four starters, has adjusted to the shortages.
“When it's all said and done,” Schwartz said, “neither team is going to start this game with a lead and neither team is going to start with an advantage because of something that happened, it seems, like another season ago, at least to us. Each game is going to start out new and we're going to have to play good for 60 minutes in this game, not make up for anything that happened eight weeks ago and not get down about anything that happened.”
Since his return to the team in 2017, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) is 3-1 in games where he has thrown more than 40 times, including his last two playoff games. He went 25-for-40 versus Chicago last week and 28-for-43 vs. New England in Super Bowl LII.