After a thrilling game with many twists and turns Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles came out on top and beat the Rams in LA 43-35, clinching the NFC East division title for the first time since 2013. Nothing came easy for the Eagles, however, as the Rams came out energized early and forced a turnover on the first play of the game. The run defense didn’t quite look like itself considering the fact that they couldn’t stop Todd Gurley, who had two touchdowns on 13 carries and 96 yards. However, they still made stops when they needed to. That being said, the Eagles were able to keep the pace by owning time of possession and like always, converting some key 3rd downs. They were able to get 12 more first downs than LA, a lot of which were the result of multiple penalties being committed on the Rams’ part.
Carson Wentz threw for four touchdowns and 291 yards, completing more than 50% of his passes and ultimately outperforming Jared Goff. Wentz’s heroics cost him, however, when he ran for a touchdown late in the third quarter and ended up getting sandwiched while trying to get across the goal line. While it looked like he got hit bad, many weren’t sure just severe the injury was, considering he stayed in the game for a few more plays long enough to throw another touchdown to Alshon Jefferey and put the Eagles back up by three points. It was ultimately a Jake Elliot field goal and a defensive touchdown on the last play of the game that won it for the Philadelphia Eagles, and after Wentz went out in the third quarter, back up QB Nick Foles entered the game and completed six of ten passes, including one on third down to Nelson Agholor.
Though many Eagles fans may have been excited about the win yesterday, many held their breath wondering just how badly Carson was injured. Unfortunately, it was announced that Wentz has a torn ACL in his left knee and is officially out for the rest of the season. This comes as devastating news for a team and fanbase that has been playing through season-ending injuries all year long. When you start 11-2 and win your division title for the first time in 4 years, the last thing you want is for your franchise quarterback to not be able to finish what he started. Especially when he was a legitimate MVP candidate for the season and did so many amazing things on the field.
That being said, there shouldn’t be too many people counting the Eagles out officially. Nick Foles is a capable quarterback who is not a stranger to this Philadelphia team. He played and started for the Eagles during the 2013 season the last time they won the division. Not only does he know the offense, but he has worked very closely with Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson all year long. With the receivers that this offense has, and the way that the defense has been playing like the number one defense in the league, the Eagles still have a chance in these playoff games to contend. The Eagles also have possibly the best running game in the league with three top-tier options and that should help them immensely in these coming weeks.
Optimism will be key for the Eagles in the next few weeks to help keep their playoff hopes alive. With some home-field advantage, anything can happen. In the meantime, they look to prepare for the next few games against the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys with Nick Foles taking the lead as their starting quarterback. We all hope to see Carson Wentz, who just set a franchise record for passing touchdowns this season, get better and have a speedy recovery as we wait to see him again next year.