By Kevin McGuire
Carson Wentz was brilliant for three-quarters of play in Los Angeles, and then the Philadelphia Eagles had to scratch together a win without him in the fourth quarter. Without Wentz for the fourth quarter, the Eagles called on backup Nick Foles to find a way to a victory and clinched the NFC East Division title. The win also put the Eagles back on top of the NFC playoff standings after the Minnesota Vikings lost earlier in the day at Carolina. However, the celebration of the 2017 NFC East Division championship was dulled by early reports suggesting the Eagles feared Wentz suffered a torn ACL.READ MORE: Four Children Among Five Killed In Pottstown Home Explosion, Police Say
Before leaving with a knee injury, Wentz was unflappable after an early interception on the game’s opening possession. Wentz passed for 291 yards and four touchdowns to set the new franchise single-season touchdown record before having to leave the game in the third quarter.
Nick Foles stepped in and was serviceable in leading the Eagles to a fourth-quarter rally with a pair of field goals and helping the offense run out the clock in the end. Without Zach Ertz, Wentz connected early for touchdowns with Brent Celek and Trey Burton, and wide receiver Torrey Smith had a 100-yard day. The Eagles’ running game chewed up 139 yards on the ground, with Jay Ajayi leading the running game with 78 rushing yards. No player on the Eagles rushed for a touchdown in the game.
The Eagles gave up the most points they have all season long, but when the defense had to make plays in the fourth quarter, they sure made them. The Rams were four-for-four inside the red zone and Jared Goff and Todd Gurley had their moments of success against them throughout the game. But the Eagles forced a pair of turnovers, including one on the final play of the game that was returned to the end zone for a cherry-on-top touchdown that made some people in the desert happy or angry depending on the wager.
After the Rams took a 35-31 lead in the fourth quarter, LA fumbled, punted on a three-and-out, and had the clock run out on them on the final play of the game.READ MORE: Beach Erosion Will Keep One-Third Of North Wildwood Beaches Closed Memorial Day Weekend
Special Teams: B
The biggest mistake on special teams came in the beginning of the second half when Donnie Jones had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. That and a lackluster day in special teams returns were compensated for by another reliable afternoon from kicker Jake Elliott, who booted all three of his field goal tries through the goal posts and knocked down all four extra-point attempts for 13 points.
Special teams coverage was also a plus for the Eagles, with punt returner Pharoh Cooper being held to just one punt return for a loss of three yards. Jones knocked one other punt down inside the 20-yard line as well.
The Eagles won and managed to scratch together a physical game that saw both teams losing players to injuries. Doug Pederson’s ability to trust Nick Foles to keep the passing game going on an efficient and reliable path helped keep the game plan on track. A few gambles he took this week also paid off, like going for a touchdown a few yards from the end zone on fourth down and challenging a spot just before the two-minute warning in the first half to get an overturned call to lead to a Rams punt.
Up Next: The Eagles will be back on the road next week, but they’ll get the chance to rest in their own beds this week. The Eagles head north to take on the woeful New York Giants with an early afternoon kickoff. The Giants are 2-11 after dropping a home game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon and have fired their head coach since the last time the Eagles and Giants played back in Week 3.MORE NEWS: CBS3 SummerFest: 2 St. Joe's Grads Bringing New Tiki Cruise Experience For Adults To Wildwood