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The Eagles beat the Giants, but it could have been a big loss

A few, fleeting moments of absolute horror.

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles beat the Giants, 24-19.

That’s exciting.

It’s especially exciting because the Eagles nearly lost their franchise quarterback to a concussion late in the third quarter. It almost feels like two wins!

But seriously, things almost took a terrible turn in the second half. It would’ve spoiled not just Thursday night, but the upcoming holiday weekend, and the entire feeling that Carson Wentz has learned and progressed during his rookie season.

Wentz, rolling out to his right to avoid pressure on a third down play, was smashed by Olivier Vernon and driven into the ground, where his shoulder and head both hit the ground hard.

It was the exact scenario Eagles fans have dreaded since the team was eliminated from playoff contention: the future of the organization suffering an injury in a meaningless game.

Wentz rose from the field slowly, and tried to head back towards the huddle before slowing down and not looking all these. Jason Peters pointed a clearly woozy Wentz to the sideline, where he was evaluated by team doctors and then taken to the locker room.

He emerged at the start of the fourth quarter, and the Linc breathed a colossal, collective sigh of relief.

Wentz was asked to lead block for a reverse and roll out a few more times before the night was out, invariably sending Eagles fans’ heart rates through the roof.

Just last week, the Inquirer’s Bob Ford floated the idea of sitting Wentz against the Ravens’ vaunted defense.

From Ford:

Oh, I know, you're Philadelphia and you're tough and football isn't for the faint of heart and, hey, what would Bednarik have done? That's all fine. Enjoy yourself. Have some more raw meat. He still shouldn't play.

This is not an emotional issue. It is a business decision made to protect the most valuable asset in the company. Wentz will not be scarred by it. In fact, that's the point. He will remain unscarred. (Chase Daniel might not be as delighted to learn of his expendability, but it's about time he earned some of that money.) If the postseason were not out of reach, things would be different, of course. But this season is irretrievably lost and there's no reason to lose the quarterback, too.

At the time, there were debates online about what kind of message it would send to the team to sit the leader of your entire team, the man who will, ideally, pilot the Eagles through the next 10 years or more.

But now, after staring the threat straight in the face, it’s hard to call Ford wrong. Everything that happened before his injury occurred is rendered meaningless. In the first game since October with your entire offensive line intact, having Wentz put under such duress that he is opened up to a possible head injury, the worst kind of injury in a sport riddled with them, is less than ideal.

Wentz actually suffering a concussion would have cast a limitless, debilitating pall over what has been an unproductive, but not fruitless, rookie season.

The fact that the Eagles beat the Giants doesn’t matter. They didn’t lose Wentz. That’s what matters. That’s the victory here.

Just one more game. Stay healthy, young man.