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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Frank Reich: Colts defense will ‘have our hands full’ facing ‘stud’ Nick Foles

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Nick Foles will face an old friend when he makes his first start in a Chicago Bears uniform Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and coach Frank Reich.

Reich was the Eagles offensive coordinator during Foles’ best run as an NFL quarterback in Philly’s 2017 Super Bowl season, after which Foles was named SB LII MVP.

Reich knows first-hand the magic Foles can spin when he gets hot.

“Nick is about as unflappable of a person as I’ve ever been around,” the Colts coach said this week, via NBC Chicago. “He’s a very unique player in that regard. Extremely talented. He’s a big-time passer; this guy, he just has this knack for making big plays like few I’ve ever seen, and then he has this knack for coming up big in big moments. In the biggest moments, that’s usually when he’s at his best. So, the utmost respect for him as a player, and then personally, you get close with these guys, and obviously really close with Nick personally as well. He’s a stud, man, this guy’s a stud player. We’ll have our hands full this week.”

Reich has faced Foles once since that 2017 season when the QB was in his first game back from a clavicle injury last year with Jacksonville. Foles threw for 296 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his first game in 10 weeks, but Reich’s Colts boat-raced the Jags that day, 33-13.

Sunday, Foles is in a new uniform once again, and returns to the starting lineup.

Following Foles’ performance Sunday in the comeback victory in Atlanta, it will be interesting what type of tweaks Matt Nagy will make to the Bears offense. Through two and a half games with Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears’ pass offense was mostly vanilla, and Chicago relied heavily on the ground game. We’d expect more RPOs from Nagy with Foles under center.

Foles’ accuracy allows the Bears more options than under Trubisky, who brought mobility to the position, but too often, whose wayward tosses bogged down the operation. Sunday, Foles was 13-of-16 passing for 102 yards with a 2-0 TD-INT ratio and a 132.8 passer rating on throws under 10 air-yards. Foles getting the ball out accurately to his receivers to make plays on the move will add a dimension the Bears offense has missed.

The Colts defense has been solid this season, particularly against quick short throws, allowing just one TD to two INTs, a 76.5 passer rating and completion percentage over expected of -2.8 on throws under 10 air-yards, which ranks in the top 10 in the NFL through three weeks.

Indy took advantage of a young, struggling QB last week in Sam Darnold as they whitewashed the winless Jets. This Sunday, they face a savvy veteran taking over for a 3-0 Bears team looking to prove its start wasn’t a fluke. The Week 4 matchup marks the stiffest test either team has faced in the young season.

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