A wise man once said, “well, well, well. How the turntables.” The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles came into their week 15 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread. The Rams have one of the best offenses in football and were poised to wipe the floor with the Eagles’ battered secondary. Philly came into this one as thirteen and a half point underdogs, the biggest line against a defending Super Bowl champion since the 1995 San Francisco 49ers.
Every so-called “expert”, with one exception – shout out Tony Dungy – picked the Rams to win this game, and who could blame them. Philadelphia would be without their star quarterback Carson Wentz, as he was ruled out Saturday with a back injury. Nick Foles was named the Eagles starter, and by the way he played the first two weeks of the season, no one gave Philadelphia a shot. When the bright lights of Sunday Night Football came on, however, the Philadelphia Eagles came to play.
The Eagles offense started off slow, as Foles was trying to find his groove after being on the bench for 12 weeks. Field goals on its first two drives gave Philadelphia a little bit of confidence against the Rams potent defense. Philly’s defense got the job done early and often, putting the offense in prime position to take a lead midway through the second quarter following an Avonte Maddox interception. The Eagles offense was unable to capitalize, but after the defense held the Rams to a field goal on the ensuing drive, the offense put together a solid drive thanks in part to this 36-yard Foles pass to Alshon Jeffery.
Josh Adams punched it in the next play to give the Eagles a 13-10 lead. Los Angeles wrapped up the half with a Greg Zuerlein field goal to tie the game. At this point, as an Eagles fan, you have to be thinking they have a shot at pulling this one out.
Each team traded three and outs to open up the third quarter, then the Eagles offense got down to business. Nick Foles once again hooked up with Alshon Jeffery, this time for a big ‘ole 50 piece.
Then an Eagles running back found the end zone once again, this time in the name of Wendell Smallwood. Los Angeles again went three and out, and Philadelphia followed that with a 40-yard field goal from Jake Elliott to extend their lead to ten.
Jared Goff has looked like a viable MVP candidate this season, but last night he looked like a deer in headlights at times. This play is one of the strangest plays I have ever seen a quarterback make, and it cost the Rams big time.
Philadelphia took full advantage of Goff’s mistake, as Wendell Smallwood scored his second touchdown of the game. This gave the Eagles their biggest lead of the night at 30-13. With 1:34 left to play in the third quarter, this one was far from over, but boy did it feel like the Birds were going to pull off the impossible.
Just when it looked like Philadelphia was going to run away with it, the momentum shifted in favor of the home side. Nick Foles made his lone mistake of the night, throwing an interception to Aqib Talib and giving the Rams a sign of life.
The Eagles defense once again came up big, holding the Rams to another field goal. LA’s offense is just too good to be held entirely though, and they put together an 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive to make it a one score game with 4:06 to go.
With a seven point lead and the ball in their hands, the Eagles offense shot themselves in the foot multiple times, committing two penalties and getting nothing going. It looked like the Rams were going to get the ball back with plenty of time on the clock needing a touchdown to tie the game. Then, the Eagles special teams came up with a huge play.
With the Rams only having one timeout remaining, all the Eagles needed was a first down to seal the deal. LA held them to a 53-yard field goal attempt, and Jake Elliott put it wide right. Jared Goff had the ball in prime field position, down seven, against a gassed Eagles defense.
Watching that final drive as an Eagles fan was like watching paint dry. Every little gain felt like a painful shock. But, with the game on the line, even with so many injuries and everything going against them, there aren’t many defenses I would take in this league over the Philadelphia Eagles. They did their job and secured the biggest win of the season for this team, a 30-23 victory against one of the best teams in the National Football League.
The mantra of the Eagles last season was “We all we got, we all we need.” Sunday night, they really were all they had. This team seems to thrive with their backs to the wall, and with their season on the line, thrive they did. Nick Foles played the way Nick Foles needs to play in order for this team to make the playoffs. He isn’t Drew Brees or Tom Brady, but he gets the job done when his name is called.
We still have a long way to go, but I have a feeling old Saint Nick still has a Christmas miracle up his sleeve. The Linc will be rocking on Sunday when we welcome the Houston Texans, and they don’t know what’s coming to ’em.
CUE MEEK! #FlyEaglesFly