Nick Foles sure casts a long shadow for a backup quarterback making a paltry $4 million with his fifth team in nine NFL seasons.

With just 29 passes in his Bears debut last week, he …

• Got Bears starter Mitchell Trubisky benched.

• Pushed Falcons coach Dan Quinn one more fourth-quarter collapse closer to being fired.

• Gave Bears General Manager Ryan Pace his best chance to survive the repercussions of trading up to blow a No. 2 overall draft pick on Trubisky.

• Made his beloved Eagles fans wince as Carson Wentz was being outplayed by Bengals rookie Joe Burrow in a 23-23 tie with Cincinnati.

• Planted a flag in the NFC North as the division’s second-best quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers and somewhere ahead of a much wealthier Kirk Cousins.

• Gave Vikings coach Mike Zimmer some Philly-style run-pass option flashbacks to fret about as Bears coach Matt Nagy begins to expand the playbook with Trubisky out of the picture.

• Set up must-see clashes as the surprising 3-0 Bears embark on a five-day Super Bowl LII reunion tour in which they face the Colts and coach Frank Reich on Sunday and the Buccaneers and quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday night.

“A lot of quarterbacks in the NFL have composure, but I just think Nick’s maybe at another level,” said Reich, Foles’ offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. “Part of that is I just think he’s fearless. He’s a fearless competitor. I think that’s where a lot of it comes from. He’s not tied up mentally or emotionally with failure.”

Sounds simple. It’s not. Just ask Wentz, a franchise quarterback who has been living in Foles’ shadow since a knee injury handed Foles the Eagles’ starting job with three games left in the 2017 season.

Foles went 2-1 in the regular season — he threw only 11 passes in the season-ending loss as Doug Pederson pulled his starters early — and 3-0 in the postseason.

After throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-7 trashing of the Vikings in the NFC title game, Foles stared down the GOAT himself in downtown Minneapolis.

In a Super Bowl-record offensive explosion, the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 as Foles won MVP honors while outplaying Brady. Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns while catching a touchdown pass famously dubbed the “Philly Special.”

Talk about fearless.

“I think that’s more just life,” Foles said last week when asked about Reich’s description of his fearless play. “The book of James in the Bible talks about trials, and if you read it, finding joy within trials.

“So many times as people, we think when we have a bad game or a bad moment or something like that the world is against us. And that’s not really the case. I’ve said it over and over again that the tough times, they’re not fun, but they equip you for what’s ahead as long as you approach it with the right heart.”

Foles left the Eagles after the 2018 season and went 0-4 as a starter in an injury-marred season in Jacksonville last year. Ties to Nagy from Kansas City and the Rams led to Foles signing with the Bears.

The Bears force-fed the No. 1 spot to Trubisky until they couldn’t stomach it any longer.

Nagy turned to Foles last week with 5:02 left in the third quarter and the Bears trailing the Falcons 26-10. Foles threw three touchdown passes and the Bears won.

“I’ve been very blessed throughout my life whenever I’ve had tough times or had trials,” Foles said. “I not only have my faith there to grow from, but to have people like Frank and other people to lift me up and be there for me. I can do that for others as well.”

 

Mark Craig is an NFL and

Vikings Insider. Twitter: @markcraigNFL