The Eagles entered their “Sunday Night Football” contest against the Rams as underdogs. But, they left the LA Memorial Coliseum winning their third game in the last four weeks and further frustrating a once unstoppable Los Angeles team.
Quarterback Nick Foles, who made his third appearance of the season, had his best performance since the 2017 playoffs in the team’s 30-23 win over the top-seeded Rams.
Foles took the place of an injured Carson Wentz and went 24-of-31 passing for 270 yards and no touchdowns. He was picked off once by a Los Angeles defense that tried to keep the Rams in the game. But, the deficit — which at 17 was the Rams’ second largest of the season — became too big to overcome.
Here are three takeaways from the Eagles’ win over the Rams.
A spoiled comeback was cause for celebration
Before beating the Giants in Week 12 with a late field goal, the Eagles could barely string together wins while fighting injuries and working through the growing pains of new additions, like receiver Golden Tate. So when the Rams were in position for a comeback Sunday, it seemed as though Philadelphia would miss an opportunity to return to the playoffs.
But, a huge special teams play sealed the Eagles improbable win.
It was late in the fourth quarter when Philadelphia’s special teams recovered a fumble. Even though the Eagles never converted the turnover into points, it took enough time off the clock to pressure quarterback Jared Goff and company.
The @Eagles recover the fumble on the punt return!
— NFL (@NFL) December 17, 2018
The Rams had one last chance with just over a minute left, but two botched plays, where the receivers stayed in bounds, didn’t give Goff enough time to execute a game-changing drive.
Foles took advantage of a talented receiving corps
Foles is no stranger to the Eagles’ offense. After all, he did lead Philadelphia to its only Super Bowl. So when he was named the Week 15 starter in place of Wentz, who is nursing a back injury, it seemed like business as usual — and it was.
He looked to one of his favorite targets, Alshon Jeffery, and six other receivers to extend drives and tire the Rams, who had just given up nearly 300 total yards in their Week 14 loss to the Bears.
Foles found the seven-year veteran for 160 yards on eight receptions. Jeffery was so impressive he more than doubled his 20-plus-yard catch output and was left so open that the only person he had to compete with for the ball was his own teammate.
NICK FOLES lets it FLY! 💪💪💪
— NFL (@NFL) December 17, 2018
Tate finished with five catches for 43 yards and tight end Zach Ertz had 22 yards on three receptions. Three other receivers had multiple catches.
The Rams are falling apart at the wrong time
Early season woes can be worked out as teams face the brunt of their schedule and a grueling playoff race. But, when the struggles come in the final weeks of the season, they seem harder to shake — which has been the case for the once unstoppable Rams.
Last week, coach Sean McVay took responsibility for the team’s loss and vowed they would work to return to their former glory. But after flying through the beginning of the season with eight straight wins, Los Angeles has now lost matchups to the Saints and Bears, both division leaders, with nothing seeming to come together like it once did.
Goff has had more interceptions in his last three games (7) than he had in his first 11 outings (6) and the defense, which boasts the likes of Aaron Donald, has recently been susceptible to the run — along with a secondary that has had its own struggles. Since Week 10, the Rams have allowed the most yards in the NFL.
This shouldn’t be cause for too much panic. Los Angeles has clinched its division and will close out its season with games against the lowly Cardinals and 49ers.