The Eagles scored a Pyrrhic victory over the Rams 43-35 to take sole possession of the top seed in the NFC and clinch the NFC East. The big news is of course the fear that Carson Wentz has torn his ACL. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, for now, we’ll cross the winners and losers bridge. Of which there are many, this was an ugly game.
You wanted some adversity? You got it. The Eagles were missing their top pass catcher. They blew a 21-7 lead. They lost their starting QB and their starting LG, and benched the replacement LG. For three quarters the defense couldn’t stop anything. There were gut check third and fourth downs, and the special teams got outplayed.
And they won.
The defense got it together in the end of the game, forcing a fumble to set up the field goal to take the lead. Then they forced a three and out to all but ice the game, and then put the game away with a touchdown on the final play. The offense without Carson Wentz got the job done.
Test passed, though at a cost.
Carson Wentz, until he got hurt
Set the Eagles single season record for touchdown passes, which was no easy task against the Rams. Los Angeles had given up 14 passing TDs all season, 6th best in the league, and Wentz torched them for 4. They had the 5th best passer rating against at 77.3, Wentz had a 100.8 rating. He was having a pretty good day.
Trey Burton and Brent Celek
Twice this season Zach Ertz was a late scratch against a talented defense, though this time the Eagles had anticipated his absence. Burton and Celek responded to the added playing time with a hell of a game: they combined for 6 catches for 76 yards and 3 touchdowns.
6 catches for 100 yards. Who should I advocate gets benched this week?
On pure aesthetics, his touchdown catch was impressive but not exactly beautiful. That there was no margin for error since it was fourth down makes it a contender for the team’s catch of the year.
Doug Pederson’s balls
At least 28 other coaches would have kicked a field goal in the third quarter, but Pederson isn’t other coaches, and he was rewarded for it with a touchdown.
Trumaine Johnson might have said something extraordinarily bad to get flagged. Or the refs screwed up, in which case, thanks.
Another home game in Los Angeles. If the Rams hold on and win the NFC West, the Eagles go back to Los Angeles next year, so get ready.
Eagles run defense
The defense has been as reliable as any all season, especially on the ground, but not today. The box score will say the Eagles held Todd Gurley in check at just 96 rushing yards. But he gained that on 13 carries, giving him 7.4 yards per carry, and he scored 2 touchdowns.
Doug Pederson’s play calling
Calling the offensive playcalling a loser is admittedly harsh, but it certainly wasn’t a winner. When he actually got the ball Jay Ajayi was tearing up the Rams in the first half, but he had just 4 carries. Carson Wentz had 30 attempts at halftime. The opening play call was terrible. In the first three quarters the Eagles faced 2nd and long 14 times, he called a run on half of them. Not his worst game, but not his best.
There’s no reason to have him covering Cooper Kupp.
To add to the quicksand feeling that parts of the game had, special teams gave up a punt block for a touchdown.
It isn’t often you see someone come in as an injury replacement and get benched.
The Rams when Nick Foles plays QB
That’s the 13th Rams game where Nick Foles played QB, they are 4-9: 4-7 with him as their starter, and 0-2 when he plays for the Eagles against them, having also won in 2014.
The Eagles play the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys, all of whom stink this year, so a 14-2 season and the top seed in the NFC is realistic. But if it’s without Carson Wentz, those Super Bowl dreams are just dreams.