Nick Foles' excellence in clutch situations lifts Eagles

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Happy holidays!

The Eagles are still alive in the postseason race, thanks to the again unexpected play of Nick Foles. In fact, that's the theme of this week: Two of the three mentioned below were not expected to play this well. And yet, they're both celebrating victory Monday on Christmas Eve. It wouldn't be the holidays after all without a little St. Nick magic.

The third is often expected to play well, but his team's downturn made Sunday a pleasant surprise. Who might it be? This is why there's a scroll function. Get to reading, ya filthy animal!

Unstoppable Performer


Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles


Is it happening again? Perhaps.

"It" is, of course, a playoff run sparked by Nick Foles. The Eagles have done it before -- twice, in fact, including last year's sprint to the Super Bowl -- and with their backs against the wall for a second straight week, Foles delivered.

Now, he wasn't perfect, or anywhere near it. In fact, he was alarmingly inaccurate at times. But as Foles has proven he's capable of doing, he played his best when most needed.

Foles was excellent in money-making situations, completing 15 of 16 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns on third and fourth downs. Three scores on must-have downs shows some serious courage and an ability to execute under pressure. Maybe the Mr. Cool nickname should go to Foles, not Tom Brady.

Foles put the Eagles ahead in a game they weren't expected to win before watching the Houston Texans strike back with a stunning swiftness that made it seem Philadelphia was doomed. But then, Foles led a drive down into field goal range with the Eagles trailing 30-29. Jake Elliott polished it off, drilling a 35-yard field goal for the win.

The Eagles are alive and are unstoppable, or at least have been in the last two weeks. We'll see if they can sneak into the playoffs.

Also considered ...


C.J. Anderson, Los Angeles Rams


The news came down just before the game: Todd Gurley would be inactive for Los Angeles' Week 16 meeting with Arizona. Fantasy owners everywhere panicked.

Waiting in the shadows, though, was C.J. Anderson. Cast aside by Denver, Carolina and Oakland in just this year, Anderson went from watching football at home to signing with the Rams earlier in the week. He had to think he might be getting his last significant chance to make an impact and stay in the NFL. He made the most of it.

Anderson rushed 20 times for 167 yards and a touchdown, powering a Rams ground attack that brought needed balance to its offense and allowed Jared Goff to post a bounce-back performance in an easy victory.

"I knew I had an opportunity to play," Anderson said, per Rams team reporter Myles Simmons, "And you knew you had to be ready no matter what. So like I said earlier in the week, it's a one-play league and you got to be the ultimate pro."

He filled the shoes left by Gurley, helped the Rams get back on track and provided all 32 teams a reason to give Anderson another look. That's worth a Sunday afternoon off the couch.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers


Things haven't gone the Packers' way in 2018. But on Sunday, in a game that looked much like the others this season, it suddenly swung in the opposite direction.

Perhaps it was the arm of Aaron Rodgers whipping the earth off its axis and thus, tilting what appeared to be a Jets win and sending it tumbling to overtime and eventually, a Packers triumph.

Or maybe it was just the Jets being the Jets.

Rodgers completed 37 of 55 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns, which included his game-winning connection with Davante Adams in overtime. Rodgers and the Packers entered the final period of regulation trailing 35-20 and promptly erased that lead, outscoring the Jets 18-3. He weathered constant pressure and did something we haven't seen in a while: Made plays with his feet.

Rodgers crossed the plane for six points twice with his feet (bringing his total touchdowns to four in the game) and also ran in a successful two-point conversion. Who needs Aaron Jones?! (Kidding -- Jones is very much needed by this team.)

Thanks to his play and the collaborative efforts of his teammates, Green Bay scored a win that won't mean much now but does a little something for the team's morale as it nears the end of the season. And it reminded us that Rodgers is still one of this league's best.

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