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Sacks doom Nick Foles in OT loss to Saints

In a credible performance, Foles threw for 272 yards and two TDs and rallied the Bears to a game-tying field goal with 13 seconds left in regulation. But he was unable to pull off a similar trick in OT.

Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) sacks Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) in overtime Sunday. Foles was sacked three times in the Bears’ final two drives Sunday in a 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints at Soldier Field.
Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) sacks Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) in overtime Sunday. Foles was sacked three times in the Bears’ final two drives Sunday in a 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints at Soldier Field.
Nam Y. Huh/AP Photos

It was a tale of two drives for Bears quarterback Nick Foles.

With the Bears trailing by three points in the final 1:51 of regulation, Foles engineered a tying field-goal drive that was more finger-painting than artistry. A laborious, 12-play, 35-yard drive with potholes from start to finish but ultimately successful when Cairo Santos kicked a 51-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

But in overtime, a similarly problematic opportunity for victory didn’t work out as well. Starting from the Bears’ 19-yard line and needing any score to win, Foles got one first down on a penalty, but two dropped passes and a third-down sack forced the Bears to punt. Drew Brees drove the Saints for a field goal and a 26-23 victory Sunday at Soldier Field.

What was the difference? Foles’ explanation couldn’t be more simple.

“The big thing is we were able to execute at the end of regulation and give ourself an opportunity to push the game into overtime,” he said. “Cairo did a great job. Our defense did a great job.”

It was that kind of day for Foles, who showed signs of progress but fell far short of the breakthrough for an offense that has been in work-in-progress mode all season. In one sparkling four-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, Foles threw a 50-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Darnell Mooney and a picture-perfect 24-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson — as good of a catch as it was a throw — in a span of three plays. That gave the Bears a 10-3 lead with 8:18 left in the first half.

It was an uneven performance overall but tilted more toward the positive than negative. Foles went 28-for-41 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 92.7 passer rating. It was his best passer rating in five starts since replacing Mitch Trubisky.

“I feel like I have a good grasp of what we’re doing right now,” said Foles, who also threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Mooney that got the Bears within 23-20 with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter. “There were good things out there. We were able to improve on different areas and get -explosive plays. Those are things we have to focus on as an offense.”

Foles did well to get the Bears to overtime, but it was a teeth-pulling drive. He converted a fourth-and-eight from his 34 with an 11-yard pass to Anthony Miller crossing toward the left sideline. On fourth-and-two from the Saints’ 47, Foles rolled to his right and hit Robinson for a seven-yard gain and a critical first down.

And after Foles was sacked by Cameron Jordan on second-and-10 for an eight-yard loss back to the Saints’ 48, he completed a 15-yard pass to Miller that did not get the first down but at least got the Bears to the 33-yard line, which gave Santos a chance.

But Foles was unable to overcome similar problems in overtime. After Miller and Graham dropped catchable passes, Foles was in trouble quickly on third-and-10 from his 31. He tried to maneuver the pocket but was sacked by Trey Hendrickson.

“I was moving around the pocket, looking downfield,” Foles said. “It was a longer [distance for the first down], so you’re trying to look for a big play.

“There was nothing there, so just try to be smart and not throw the ball in harm’s way for field-position purposes and get down. My eyes were trying to find someone open downfield. They did a nice job of covering.”