Sunday Night wrap-up: Nick Foles leads the Eagles back

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The Eagles had long ago proven they can win games with Nick Foles. The biggest games, even.

But this season looked like too much of a mess for any one player to fix.

Instead, Foles led the Eagles to a 30-23 win over the Rams on the road, the kind of steady performance which makes them glad they have him in reserve.

The win moves the Eagles to 7-7, and within a half game of the final wild card spot in the NFC, and gets them back on the kind of footing that makes them think they ought to win games.

It would be unfair to Carson Wentz to suggest his absence has anything to do with it. It’s just the presence that Foles carries into the huddle is tangible, the kind of thing that coming off the bench to lead a Super Bowl run buys him.

Foles’ numbers Sunday were only OK (24-of-31 for 270 yards and an interception), but they didn’t seem as twitchy as they’ve been this season. The Rams turned a 17-point fourth quarter deficit into a one-score game late. But instead of hacking up a 17-point lead like they did against the Panthers earlier this year, the Eagles dove on a fumble by Rams punt returner JoJo Natson, and were able to play enough defense to hang on.

That has nothing in particular to do with Foles, but the 2018 Eagles were largely known for the plays that went the wrong way at the wrong time. That might eventually be the epitaph on their season.

But for a night, Foles was back, and so was the sense they could win games like this.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. It’s probably too soon to panic (Narrator voice: That’s not true. It’s never too soon to panic).

But there’s something amiss with quarterback Jared Goff lately, something that all the clever play-calls in the world can’t fix.

He was 35-of-54 for 339 yards with two interceptions. That’s after a clean 37-of-77 for 387 yards, a touchdown and five picks in his two previous games, against the Lions and the Bears.

His third-quarter fumble/interception/Garo Yepremian combo platter was one of the worst individual plays you’ll see made this year, the kind of breakdown that will be talked about for years (just ask Mark Sanchez). That can work on a players’ confidence, and Goff has gone from beating the Chiefs in a 54-51 shootout to inconsistent in a hurry, with no reasonable explanation.

There were open receivers in the fourth quarter he simply missed, the kind of passes you can’t pin on injuries to Cooper Kupp or the weather in Chicago. He’s simply not playing well right now. With Todd Gurley in and out of the game with a knee issue, and other injuries thinning the Rams out, they can’t afford for Goff to be anything but his best. And over the last three weeks, he hasn’t been.

2. There was no bigger beneficiary of the return of Foles than wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

The veteran wideout finished with eight catches for 160 yards, and had four catches for 87 yards in the first half alone.

If he’d have stopped at 30 minutes, he wouldn’t have had that kind of game since Week Seven, when he had 88 yards against the Panthers. And he didn’t top 50 yards in a game in any of the games since then.

It may not have been specific to Foles, but he hadn’t made plays with this kind of regularity this year.

3. The Rams weren’t going to be able to clinch a bye in the NFC playoffs anyway, once the Bears beat the Packers earlier in the day.

But you’d be worried about whether they were going to, at least until you look at their remaining schedule.

The Rams close the season with a trip to Arizona and a home game against San Francisco. And while anything can happen, and the other team practices too, and blah blah blah blah blah, if the Rams lose either of those two, they have problems bigger than playoff seeding.

4. It’s not as if Fletcher Cox is going broke or anything.

But the Eagles’ inside rusher was playing as if he had a point to prove against the Rams better-publicized defensive tackles.

While Ndamukong Suh used to be the big-money guy at his position, and Aaron Donald is now, the Eagles had to pony up for their version as well. They had to give him a six-year, $103 million contract to keep him around. It’s not Donald money, and he’s not always a Donald type of player. This week, he was.

Cox was hammering the Rams’ interior all night, disrupting things up the middle in a way that others get more credit for.

5. The Eagles secondary is suddenly, stick with me here, kind of good. Or at least no longer the reason they can’t win a game.

While the injuries that put safety Rodney McLeod and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills on injured reserve, and had Sidney Jones (hamstring) inactive, they shouldn’t be playing with any degree of composure. And yet, they were.

Corey Graham and Avonte Maddox had interceptions, and Cre'von LeBlanc was hitting people and making plays. They’re far from household names, but they’ve obviously done something to develop the confidence of their coaches, because Jim Schwartz was as aggressive as normal with his play-calling, at least until the fourth quarter.

That’s a significant step from where that group has been.

66 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: Nick Foles leads the Eagles back

  1. This fan of the defending world-champion Philadelphia Eagles would like to call out the Rams as frauds, as last’s year supposed coach of the year lost to the rightful coach of the year at home again, to his backup quarterback, again.

  2. Wentz clearly was rushed back and the stress injury is a result of that. But these Rams don’t have the toughness to deliver in the clutch down the stretch and it’s proving true for the second yr in a row. They have work to do if they want to make a run. McVay is smart enough to figure it out but is the team up to the challenge?

  3. Foles magic is back. If foles wins the superbowl again, he deserves to be the starter next year for the Eagles. I don’t care how much you have invested in wentz. Wentz will probably never win you a superbowl. Even if he wins you a playoff game or two and falls short of the superbowl, I would still make Foles the starter next year. Hes a much better qb than wentz. The team plays alot better collectively with Foles. Wentz should’ve been benched a long time ago.

  4. Nick Foles is a solid QB. There is no QB controversy in Philly. Nick is just doing what he is supposed to do: come in and play solid football if Carson can’t play. Job well done Nick Foles and the rest of the Eagles!

  5. “That can work on a players’ confidence, and Goff has gone from beating the Chiefs in a 54-51 shootout to inconsistent in a hurry, with no reasonable explanation.”

    Well for one thing he’s not stepping into his throws like he was earlier in the year. Not playing with confidence.

    Teams are throwing new things at the Rams but there’s no reason why they couldn’t adjust to their new reality. Take something less than the 15 yard passing play. It’s OK. And throwing underneath coverage almost brought them back tonight. Learn that lesson.

  6. Let’s be honest, if Goff wasn’t missing open receivers, the Rams win the game. The Eagles defensive line had a great game and the Eagles secondary took away the deep ball but the short pass was open almost every play and Goff either didn’t have the time or the patience to hit them consistently.

    If Gurley’s knee limits him going forward the Rams are done. Goff is at most the 3rd best player on the team and can play good complementary football but if he’s the focal point, the Rams aren’t going to be able to win against good secondaries.

    The Eagles secondary is one of the worst in the league at the moment with all the injuries and they gave Goff trouble.

    I was wondering if the other Eagles receivers weren’t getting open earlier in the season or if Wentz focused on Ertz because he trusted him. I think tonight with Foles we found the answer with Foles hitting nearly every receiver with a pass.

    Conservative play calling at the end of the game both on offense and defense almost cost the Eagles the game again. If the Rams players get out of bounds on the last series which they had the opportunity, what do you think the Rams chances would’ve been with another 2 -3 plays in the red zone at the end of the game?

  7. Goff looks more and more like a QB who NEEDS a clean game around him whereas some QB’s can play a messy and gritty game in tough conditions and lift their team. Goff seems like a fragile guy who can rattle easily.

    As far as all the “Foles is better than Wentz” stuff, please remember that the game plan changes with Foles in there, right or wrong. They now run the ball more which helps play action and the line blocks with more intensity for a non-mobile QB. Its human nature to tighten up your game when the backup has to play.

  8. well, the eagles are the defending champs and although they got beat by the cowboys last week which was a dagger in their heart ,they arestill the champs and tonight they played like it even if they win out no guarantee they get to the playoffs but they played like champs tonight

  9. redandgoldhitman52 says:
    December 16, 2018 at 11:52 pm
    Foles magic is back. If foles wins the superbowl again, he deserves to be the starter next year for the Eagles. I don’t care how much you have invested in wentz. Wentz will probably never win you a superbowl. Even if he wins you a playoff game or two and falls short of the superbowl, I would still make Foles the starter next year. Hes a much better qb than wentz. The team plays alot better collectively with Foles. Wentz should’ve been benched a long time ago.

    Dude, I love the Eagles but getting up for one game is one thing, but this team needs to win out and they’ve yet to show any consistency this year. Next week is just as big as this game. Win next week and I’ll be confident enough to have my heart broken against the Redskins, lol.

  10. Unfortunately for the Iggles…they spent too much capital trading up for Carlson Wince…so they can’t make the smart move…which is starting Foles and trading Wince…a move they shoulda made a year ago…but that would mean admittng trading up for Wince was a mistake…As the saying goes…Pride goeth before the Fall!!!

  11. I am a huge fan of Nick Foles and always have been!!! Carson Wentz is and always has been the better QB!!! If nothing else The Eagles could keep creatively Foles and have a lot of teams looking for his services via off season trade that works for The Eagles and Foles.. I could name 10 now that Foles would start for next year.

  12. Wentz has been off for whatever reasons this year, but people forget how good the Eagles looked with him at the helm prior to his injury last season. That’s why he’s #1 on the depth chart. That being said, Foles should finish out this season regardless to let Wentz healthy going into next year and to give Foles a chance to earn a big contract as a starter elsewhere this offseason

  13. The Eagles coach almost blew the game, why not run the ball drain clock and kick the FG, at that point, u are up 4 scores with little time for that theatrics by the Rams.

  14. How ‘bout them Eagles? As I posted elsewhere, Nick Foles’ second Super Bowl run begins tonight!

  15. redandgoldhitman52 says:
    December 16, 2018 at 11:52 pm
    Foles magic is back. If foles wins the superbowl again, he deserves to be the starter next year for the Eagles. I don’t care how much you have invested in wentz. Wentz will probably never win you a superbowl. Even if he wins you a playoff game or two and falls short of the superbowl, I would still make Foles the starter next year. Hes a much better qb than wentz. The team plays alot better collectively with Foles. Wentz should’ve been benched a long time ago.

    —————
    Foles APPEARS to play better coming off the bench. He’s been in the same spot as Ryan Fitzpatrick, where teams have brought him in to be The Man. They’ll both play well a few games, then become erratic. Remember that Foles’ play was spotty when he started the year. But he does appear to move the team better than Wentz was doing.

  16. No offense, but that Goff play was no “butt fumble”, which is remembered for both its unprecedented level of awfulness and because it was given a great name.

    Also, glad to see Nick Foles once again getting credit he doesn’t deserve. Some things never change!

  17. redandgoldhitman52 says:
    December 16, 2018 at 11:52 pm
    Foles magic is back. If foles wins the superbowl again, he deserves to be the starter next year for the Eagles. I don’t care how much you have invested in wentz. Wentz will probably never win you a superbowl. Even if he wins you a playoff game or two and falls short of the superbowl, I would still make Foles the starter next year. Hes a much better qb than wentz. The team plays alot better collectively with Foles. Wentz should’ve been benched a long time ago
    ***********
    If foles gets them to playoffs he should be the franchise qb

  18. Pederson calls a balanced game plan and stays committed to the run when Foles is behind center. When Wentz starts he’s way too pass happy. 50/50 run/pass against the Rams.

  19. Sometimes it is better to be the bridesmaid than the bride. A lot less pressure when your not the one getting focused on constantly.

    That said, I am happy for Foles.

  20. Chiefs, Rams, Saints are not putting up gaudy numbers anymore. What’s up with that? We miss the exciting games.

  21. They may have a quarterback controversy now if Foles leads them to the playoffs. The coach was sold on Wentz and even though the Eagles did not do well under Wentz, he stuck with him until he is no longer healthy enough to start.

  22. whodat5150 says:
    December 17, 2018 at 12:56 am

    Foles APPEARS to play better coming off the bench. He’s been in the same spot as Ryan Fitzpatrick, where teams have brought him in to be The Man. They’ll both play well a few games, then become erratic. Remember that Foles’ play was spotty when he started the year. But he does appear to move the team better than Wentz was doing.

    —————–

    The whole team has been sluggish the entire year on offense. That didn’t change when Wentz came back. The only change was the media stopped blaming the QB for the offense being sluggish. Playcalling and execution in general have been problems the entire year, both on offense and defense. I could name several examples including the end of game last night.

    With a big lead last night the Eagles offensively and defensively went into a conservative shell and it probably should’ve cost them the game. If not for a few Rams players inexplicably deciding to stay in bounds with the clock running, we aren’t talking about Goff having a horrible game, we are talking about the Eagles blowing their 3rd or 4th 14+ point lead in the 4th quarter this year.

  23. Nick Foles is a better QB than Wentz is. Wentz has more athletic ability but clearly Foles is a better QB.

  24. Well…if nothing else, the Eagles certainly helped the Saints with this win. I doubt any NFC is going into New Orleans and beating them. As the Eagles proved last year, home field is HUGE in the playoffs. Now lets hope the Saints return the favor tonight and help the Eagles out by beating Carolina. We’re not going back to the Super Bowl this year, but it would be nice to have a playoff game.

  25. jason9696 says:
    December 16, 2018 at 11:51 pm
    Would the Eagles be better off with Nick Foles as their starting quarterback?
    ——–

    Foles’ passer rating last night was 89. Wentz’s passer rating for the season is 102.

    Wentz has 21 tds and 7 ints. Foles had 1 tds and 2 ints this season.

    The Eagles did not get QB last night that was better than their season average. In fact, it was slightly worse. Foles had to very below average games at the start of the year.

    Let’s pump the brakes on the Nick Foles bus. The Eagles won last night because of their defense, not Nick Foles.

  26. I was hoping the Rams would win so we wouldn’t have to hear this annoying fanbase talk about how great Foles is. He is not that good. The Rams have an average at best defense. Any team that can play any kind of defense on the Rams, can win. Instead of talking about how great Foles is, how about how your defense took the ball away from the Rams? That’s why you won. Also Gurley didn’t play most of the game.

  27. to all of you wentz lovers that say it is easy to come into a game as backup, you have never played football. there is the same amount of pressure on every player on the field. it seems to me that foles handles it better than wentz. the eagles have looked bad this years, wentz out foles in, the eagles win. that should tell the story. just because you paid more for wentz dont make him better.

  28. Yes, Foles did a great job knocking the ball out of Natson’s hands on that punt return. If he hadn’t done that the Rams, who had completely seized momentum at that point, would have had a short field and 3 minutes to score. Does anybody think the Eagles stop them there?

    Giving Foles credit for this win is lazy and dumb. 32 out of 32 teams would take Wentz over Foles, period. This was a team win. Foles made some nice plays. Why can’t people just take it and move on?

  29. redsoxu571 says:
    December 17, 2018 at 2:21 am
    No offense, but that Goff play was no “butt fumble”, which is remembered for both its unprecedented level of awfulness and because it was given a great name.
    Also, glad to see Nick Foles once again getting credit he doesn’t deserve. Some things never change!

    ********************

    Ahhh the sweet tears of still bitter Patriots fans…Funny how when the Eagles win it’s never because they were the better team, better players,etc. Foles is a great leader and deserved every bit of accolades for the Super Bowl win. Deal with it.

  30. This worked out great for the eagles. they are back in the playoff picture and they will likely get a 1st round pick for Foles…or Wentz! I’m telling you, Foles is BETTER! If they make the playoffs (big IF) and he leads them to just 1 playoff win, the eagles will shop Wentz!

  31. I think the iggles could honestly beat any team in the NFC ,,then New Orleans at New Orleans ,,most likely woul put them to bed !

  32. Stupid sport fans taking sides on which QB is better. It’s hilarious!!!

    Anyone with a brain can see that Wentz is better than Foles and anyone with a brain can see the playcalling is much better when Foles is in the game. Foles threw up some ducks last night that Jeffery stopped and went up and got. Wentz will be right back tearing up the league when finally healthy, people seem to forget he was basically the league MVP last season.

  33. Hey. Football is a team sport.
    Their injuries the Eagles had were devastating. Some players are recovering and others learned how to play. Different team now then when when the season opened.

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