Eagles Stun the Rams, Playoff Hopes Remain Alive
(973espn.com) - When it comes to the NFL, nobody knows anything.
The Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) capped off a tumultuous week in which they essentially shut down Carson Wentz for the season with a stress injury in his back by rattling Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams (11-3) as a two-touchdown underdog, winning 30-23.
Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles took over for Wentz and again showed why he's regarded as the back backup signal caller in the league, completing 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards and an 89.4 passer rating.
Foles was able to do what Wentz had not in recent weeks spreading the football around and getting everyone involved, most notably Alshon Jeffery who caught all eight of his targets for 160 yards while the running game contributed three touchdowns -- two by Wendell Smallwood and another by Josh Adams.
"We are living for this moment," Foles said. "Stay in this moment. Forget the scoreboard. Forget the distractions and just execute each play."
Smallwood was back in the mix due to a season-ending knee injury to Corey Clement and made the most of his touches with 10 carries for 48 yards.
Jim Schwartz, meanwhile, put together an excellent game plan that frustrated Goff into a two-interception performance and a dismal 66.8 passer rating.
The front four was dominant, particularly Fletcher Cox, who outplayed his more ballyhooed counterpart for the Rams, likely NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
"Guys stepped up and we did it," Cox said. "This team just keeps scratching away. Guys are stepping up and doing their job."
The other key was getting rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox back from knee and ankle injuries. The Pitt product, who has played nickel corner and free safety earlier this season, was put on the outside opposite Rasul Douglas and has one of the INTs. The other was by veteran safety Corey Graham.
Nothing is easy for the Eagles this season, though, and a 30-13 laugher turned into a heart-stopper in the end when Goff's final throw to the end zone sailed pass Josh Reynolds with Maddox in coverage.
With the unlikely victory the Eagles improved their playoff probability from right around 15 percent to 37 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, and if Philadelphia is able to win its final two games -- against Houston and at Washington, it's more likely than not that the Eagles will make the postseason.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen