PHILADELPHIA - Eagles quarterback Nick Foles insisted for the last two weeks that he would be up to the challenge of leading the offense in the playoffs.
He was right.
Foles delivered a masterful performance on Saturday, completing 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards to help the Eagles earn a 15-10 victory over Atlanta in a NFC divisional-round playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I'm very humbled by this," Foles said. "Just being a part of this team, that's what this has been about. I know there were a lot of people against us this last week, but the biggest thing in this locker room is we believe in one another.
"We had faith in one another that we could get this done. We were aware of the outside noise, but we blocked it and everyone gave everything they had."
They will play the winner of Sunday's New Orleans-Minnesota game in the NFC championship game at the Linc at 6:30 p.m. That winner will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.
Saturday's victory was the Eagles' first playoff win since a divisional-round triumph over the New York Giants in the 2008 season, snapping a streak of four straight defeats, and their first home playoff victory since backup quarterback Jeff Garcia delivered a 23-20 win over the Giants during the 2006 season.
Like Garcia, Foles was impressive under immense pressure, both from the Falcons defense and skeptics who doubted both his ability and leadership skills in the wake of a pair of rough outings at the end of the regular season.
By the end of the game Saturday, he had silenced the doubters who thought the Eagles were doomed without Carson Wentz.
"You guys doubted him," Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. "We never doubted him. We never said that. We believe in anybody lining up back there at quarterback. We believe that we still have 21 other guys out there."
Foles got off to a bit of a shaky start, but gradually got into a groove. He led the Eagles to their only touchdown in the second quarter, hitting three straight passes and also pouncing on a botched exchange with running back LeGarrette Blount before Blount's 1-yard touchdown run.
He also came up with a big pass toward the end of the first half, hitting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a 15-yard gain with one second left to set up place-kicker Jake Elliott's 53-yard field goal.
Foles really found his rhythm in the second half, guiding a pair of long, time-consuming drives that kept Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and their powerful offense on heated benches while wearing heavy coats.
He was 5-for-6 for 70 yards during a 74-yard series that began on the Eagles' 7-yard line. Seventy-four yards and five minutes, 42 seconds later, Elliott's booted a 37-yard field goal that gave the Eagles the lead for good at 12-10.
Foles had similar success on the next possession, connecting on six straight passes for 67 yards during an 80-yard, 7:57 drive that ended with Elliott's 21-yard kick with 6:05 left in regulation.
The rest of the Eagles' offense made huge contributions.
Running back Jay Ajayi fumbled on his first carry, but bounced back to rush for 50 yards in the first half and added a 36-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
Jeffery finished with four receptions for a team-high 61 yards.
Everyone benefited from a great effort from the Eagles' offensive line. Foles was sacked just once and usually had plenty of time to throw.
Center Jason Kelce and right tackle Lane Johnson were especially impressive. Kelce's big block helped spring Ajayi for that 36-yard gain. Kelce, right guard Brandon Brooks and Johnson owned the line of scrimmage for most of the game.
"Nick was rattled at all," Ajayi said. "He was composed and that was big for us as an offense. He was able to keep us rolling and get the ball out. It's playoff football. That means finding a way to win and we did."