Foles seemed des­tined for more magic

This time, how­ever, the backup quar­ter­back, and the Birds, fell short.

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Les East

— Nick Foles had the Philadel­phia Ea­gles on the verge of an­other mag­i­cal come­back Sun­day.

A missed field goal had given the Ea­gles new life in the NFC Di­vi­sional Play­off just as a missed field goal had given their sea­son new life a week ear­lier in Chicago.

This time a dou­ble doink, not even a sin­gle doink, was re­quired as Wil Lutz pushed a 52-yard field goal wide right for just his third miss of the sea­son.

That left the New Or­leans Saints with a 20-14 lead and Foles and his Ea­gles nearly three min­utes to drive 58 yards to a go-ahead touch­down in the Mercedes-Benz Su­per­dome.

“I thought we were on our way,” Ea­gles coach Doug Ped­er­son said.

It looked that way as a 16-yard com­ple­tion from Foles to Zach Ertz and a rough­ing-the-passer penalty on Saints rookie Mar­cus Daven­port had the Ea­gles at the New Or­leans 27.

The Ea­gles seemed des­tined to claim an­other vic­tory be­hind Foles, just as they had a week ear­lier, just as they had in their fi­nal three reg­u­lar-sea­son games, just as they had dur­ing their march to the Su­per Bowl ti­tle last sea­son.

But Foles’ next pass — his last pass of the game and maybe his last as an Ea­gle — bounced off the hands of Al­son Jef­fery and into the hands of Saints cor­ner­back Marshon Lat­ti­more, who made his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion of the game.

Mo­ments later, Drew Brees was kneel­ing down, the Saints were on their way to the NFC Cham­pi­onship Game, and the Ea­gles were on their way home for the off­sea­son.

“We were able to do some re­ally spe­cial things [the last two sea­sons],” Foles said. “We moved the ball [Sun­day] — un­for­tu­nately it didn’t go our way in the end.”

Foles com­pleted 18 of 31 for 201 yards and a 37-yard touch­down to Jor­dan Matthews. But the two in­ter­cep­tions were sig­nif­i­cant blem­ishes, the first jump-start­ing New Or­leans’ come­back from a 14-0 deficit, the sec­ond short-cir­cuit­ing the Ea­gles’ at­tempted come­back.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­thing he has done,” Ped­er­son said of Foles.

Af­ter the Saints took their first lead, 17-14, late in the third quar­ter, Foles faced a sec­on­dand-12 af­ter a false-start penalty, and he found Zach Ertz for a

17-yard com­ple­tion.

But af­ter that Foles went just 3 for 7 for nine yards un­til the fi­nal pos­ses­sion.

On the first pos­ses­sion, Foles was mas­ter­ful.

He com­pleted all five of his passes, con­nect­ing with five dif­fer­ent re­ceivers dur­ing a 76-yard drive that ended with the touch­down to Matthews.

Foles com­pleted his first passes on the next drive be­fore get­ting his first in­com­ple­tion a throw­away. He fol­lowed that with a pic­ture-per­fect back­shoul­der com­ple­tion to Jef­fery for a 30-yard gain to the New Or­leans 4 on third-and-7.

Two plays later Foles sneaked a yard for a touch­down.

The Ea­gles were ap­proach­ing scor­ing po­si­tion on their third pos­ses­sion when Lat­ti­more made a leap­ing in­ter­cep­tion of a Foles pass at the Saints 21.

“I prob­a­bly needed to get that ball up an­other foot or so,” Foles said.

The Ea­gles still had a 14-0 lead, but they wouldn’t score again, gain­ing just 99 yards on their last eight pos­ses­sions af­ter gain­ing 151 on their first two.

“We felt like we could [score] if we hit that play,” Ped­er­son said of Foles’ first in­ter­cep­tion. “It kind of changed af­ter that.”

TIM TAI/TNS

Ea­gles quar­ter­back Nick Foles threw for 201 yards in Sun­day’s loss to the Saints. He was 18-for-31 with a touch­down pass and two in­ter­cep­tions. The Ea­gles lost 20-14, end­ing their sea­son.

CHRIS GRAYTHEN/GETTY IMAGES

Nick Foles might have thrown his last pass as a mem­ber of the Philadel­phia Ea­gles.

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