The Eagles are NFC East Champions, but the battle isn’t over yet. A heartbreaking injury to Carson Wentz leaves them on the edge of a #1 seed with the potential to either secure it or completely lose grip with three games remaining. How complete was the team’s performance against L.A? Let’s find out.
Prior to a heartbreaking ACL tear, this may have been Wentz’s finest hour as a Philadelphia Eagle. The Eagles quarterback was absolutely clinical on Sunday and if it wasn’t for an interception that was ripped from the chest of Nelson Agholor, his time on the field would have been perfect. Wentz spread the ball around the offense mad completely negated the loss of Zach Ertz, overcoming offensive line deficiencies and a struggling run game to force a shootout with L.A. When Wentz was forced out of action, Foles came in the clutch and granted the Eagles the field position needed to win the game with confidence and composure. You couldn’t ask for more.
This is an interesting one. The Eagles were so insistent on forcing the ball into Blount’s hands early on that the offense stagnated. Ajayi was clearly the more efficient rusher going into the half and luckily, Pederson saw that and made the relevant adjustments. Ajayi ended the day with 15 attempts for 78 yards and helped carry the Eagles backfield when Wentz was forced out of action. The running backs did a sound job…but considering the Rams were ranked 27th against the run coming into the game, the Eagles should have been able to do much more damage.
The Eagles offensive front struggled against a Rams pass rush that has been dominant all season. The Rams relentless rush was aided by the loss of Stefen Wisniewski. Chance Warmack and Isaac Seumalo were forced to step up, but were unable to protect Wentz or open lanes fro a struggling LeGarrette Blount. Lane Johnson had two penalties that retracted rushing touchdowns from Carson Wentz too. Overall, this was just a shoddy showing from an esteemed unit.
The Eagles were without their second-ranked receiver, but you couldn’t tell. Trey Burton and Brent Celek accounted for three receiving touchdowns on the day and Burton received for a career high 71-yards. The Eagles punished a weakened Rams secondary over the middle with plenty of targets to Burton and helped polish over the loss of Ertz.
Torrey Smith broke out for his first 100-yard game since 2015, while Alshon Jeffery amassed over 50 yards and a touchdown and Nelson Agholor chipped in with 64 yards on 8 receptions. Mack Hollins featured early and dropped a would-be touchdown pass, but this was a complete performance from a position group that is only growing as time goes on.
The Eagles got plenty of pressure to Jared Goff. Pressure was never the problem, it was finishing that was. The Birds struggled to smother the run and were pushed around too easily int he trenches to begin with. Chris Long and Brandon Graham went on to make big plays, but the defensive line struggled to put the icing on the cake they had been cooking all game long until the very end.
Nigel Bradham was a monster from start to finish on Sunday and was accompanied by Najee Goode and a seemingly relentless work-ethic from Mychal Kendricks. There were some bumps and bruises along the way, but the Eagles linebacker corps did a good job of forcing runs outside away from them and containing Gerald Everett, who was held to just one reception for 6 yards.
Sloppy. Jalen Mills allowed a touchdown against Cooper Kupp and was flagged for PI on a beautiful breaking route, while missed tackles from Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins enabled the Rams to run riot. The secondary HAS to be better moving forward…because without a franchise quarterback to win the battle of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’, all the pressure is on the defense.
The Eagles special teams unit struggled. A near-blocked punt early on was followed up by the Rams second touchdown in 96 seconds. Former sixth-round pick Blake Countess would score on the team that drafted him, picking up the blocked punt and taking it to the house. It wasn’t a great day for the special teams unit who came up against one of the finest in the league.
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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