Nick Foles returned and fired up the Eagles offense, going 24/31 for 270 yards and just one interception. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but he didn’t have to; the Eagles had three on the ground, and added three field goals on top of that production. The Rams, meanwhile, piled up 413 yards of offense, but Jared Goff threw 54 passes and none of them went for scores.
It looked like the Eagles were going to win comfortably until a few conservative playcalls from Doug Pederson put things back in doubt, but for a long stretch of the second half, Philadelphia looked very much like the better team.
That’s really weird, because the Rams are 11-3 and (probably, still) headed for a first round bye in NFC playoffs. The Eagles, meanwhile, needed that win to get back to 7-7, and even with the victory, 538 (just one projection, but still) has them at just 37% to make the playoffs, despite their metrics ranking them as the fourth-best team in the NFC. The Rams have now lost two games in a row after losing just once in their first twelve contests.
Goff falls down and the @Eagles come up with the crazy interception! 😧
— NFL (@NFL) December 17, 2018
So, is something wrong? For the first three months of the season, it seemed like the only drama in the NFC playoffs would be whether or not the championship game would be held in the Coliseum or the Superdome. Now they sit just a game ahead of the Bears for the second seed, and while Chicago does hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their dominant win last week at Soldier Field, the Rams have the 49ers and the Cardinals to end the season. Win those games and they still get the bye, which they might use to try and figure out what’s changed lately.
Here’s a thought, though: maybe not much has! The Rams are a very good team, yes, and still clearly among the top class of the NFC. They lost to a good team on the road in Chicago, and they lost to a Philadelphia team that, while not having a great year by their standards, is still clearly talented. This was also the first one-score game the Rams lost all season; they were 6-0 to this point. You could make an argument they were due.
They could (should) finish the year 13-3, and that’s a great season. They’re not a “flirting with 16-0”, all-time great team. They have a talented but young quarterback, a talented but young coach, and a ton of fantastic players. That’s good! But it’s also the kind of team that does sometimes lose games they should win. That that hadn’t happened yet this year is actually a great achievement in itself.
That’s not to say there’s nothing they could do that would be cause for alarm heading into the playoffs. If they go out next week and lose to the Cardinals, that’s the kind of thing that would suggest something is very, very wrong. But that’s not going to happen.