Broadly, it’s Eagles vs. Bears on Sunday. More narrowly, it’s Nick vs. Vic.
Foles vs. Fangio. Quarterback vs. defensive coordinator. And they have a history.
Twice before, Foles has faced a Fangio defense. Both times, it didn’t go well for the quarterback.
The first meeting came in 2014, with Foles quarterbacking the Eagles and Fangio running the 49ers defense. The final score, 26-21, suggests that Foles and company were able to score some point. But the three touchdowns came from a blocked punt recovered in the end zone, an interception return for a touchdown, and a punt return for a touchdown.
Foles in that game completed 21 of 43 passes (48.8 percent) for 195 yards (4.53 yards per attempt), no touchdowns, and two interceptions. Passer rating: 42.3.
The next year, with Foles on the Rams and Fangio running the Chicago defense, the Bears won 37-13. Foles completed 17 of 36 (47.2 percent) for 200 yards (5.55 yards per attempt), no touchdowns, one interception, and a passer rating of 53.0.
It’s round three later today, with Foles back in Philly and Fangio still in Chicago. As Chris Simms explained earlier this week on PFT Live, Fangio’s defense will smother the underneath crossing routes that the Eagles may use in order to allow Foles to get rid of the ball quickly. Foles will therefore need to find a way to hold the ball a little longer, find a guy a little more open, and hope for the best.
Yes, the other 21 players on the field will be factors in the outcome. Fundamentally, however, the quarterback will be trying to figure out what the defense is throwing at him.
Foles has figured it out consistently in the playoffs last year and late in the 2018 regular season. But this could be his biggest test yet, especially since Foles has failed twice before when facing Fangio.