"We knocked the snot out of him," Kelly said. "We chinned him. He was going down, switches the ball to his left hand . . . then gets up and makes another play against us. I've always admired him."
In Kelly's retelling, Foles' completion (to a running back named Keola Antolin) is always for 13 yards, even though the official box score says it actually was for 11. The detail is irrelevant; Foles' nerve and presence of mind are what mattered. Those are not qualities that a football coach, even one as cerebral and system-driven as Kelly, easily forgets. And they were worth noting Sunday, because Foles orchestrated Kelly's read-option offense pretty well, even if he doesn't have the speed of, say, a three-toed sloth.
Foles carried the ball nine times for 47 yards, scoring the Eagles' first touchdown and securing three first downs.
"Michael Vick, 2.0," Eagles center Jason Kelce said.
Kelce was joking, of course. In fact, Foles' teammates gave him a good amount of ribbing for his running, suggesting that he didn't have to start dashing out of the pocket and taking hellacious hits to earn their respect.
"Those don't count. He's sliding," wide receiver Riley Cooper said. "He's a warrior. He's a tough, tough, tough kid and a great quarterback. But he's sliding."
No, Foles didn't need to prove to his teammates or Kelly that he was tough enough to succeed as an NFL quarterback. The concern, at least since training camp began, was that he was an ill fit for Kelly's offense, which is why Foles' nine rushing attempts Sunday were so revealing.
Over these last three weeks, Foles has thrown for 10 touchdowns, and the Eagles have averaged 33.3 points a game, and there's been no sense that Kelly has any fear of asking Foles to do whatever the system demands. Have a lead-legged quarterback run the read-option? Whatever. Foles is 6-foot-6. He's a good athlete. He'll make it work.
"If I get 5 yards," Foles said, "it's a great play."
As dynamic as Kelly's offense could have been when Vick was healthy, the entire operation has a calmness about it under Foles that doesn't seem coincidental. The players understand the offense better after 11 weeks, and that makes a difference, too. But the notion that the Eagles ought to risk a high draft pick next year on finding a more capable quarterback than Foles gets more outlandish by the day - especially since they are 6-5 entering their bye week and are in first place in the NFC East.
"Much like a coach, you'd like the quarterback out there to remain steady," Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "That's part of Nick's nature, and I think it shows up in his play."
It's as good a reason as any for what's becoming one of the most startling stories of this entire NFL season. Nick Foles completes passes with either hand. Nick Foles has 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Nick Foles has the Eagles pointed toward the playoffs. This is his mythology, and at the moment, it's all true. After Sunday's game, no one asked Chip Kelly who his starting quarterback was. No one needed to. The silence said everything.