Post originally appeared on Pro Sports Notes
December 17, 2018
Featured Image: Rick Sliwinski via Flickr
A win over the Rams: Nick Foles’s magic touch sparks the Eagles offense
Posted on December 17, 2018
Eagles down the Rams
The Eagles entered last night’s match-up as 13 point underdogs. 13!!!! That’s just disrespectful for the Super Bowl champs right? Wrong. Based on their performance this season, going up against the LA Rams, in Los Angeles, without Carson Wentz, after losing two more players last week, seemed like an impossible task. However, I think if you haven’t figured it out already, nothing is impossible for Nick Foles. Here are a few things to love and hate about the win.
Thing to hate #1: That god awful Fresh Prince parody
Let’s start by getting the very few things to hate out of the way so we can continue to enjoy the positive takeaways from last night’s win. First thing to hate was the opening that Sunday Night Football put together. It really does always feel like people just love to hate the Eagles. The Eagles are constantly the punchline of every joke, and it seems like no announcer wants to see them succeed. The only person that EVER believes in the Eagles and wants to see them win is Tony Dungy.
This fact was epitomized by the ridiculous Fresh Prince of Bel Air parody that kicked off the game. It basically said the Eagles suck, the Rams are good, oh and by the way the Eagles franchise QB is out. Then it did some creative rhyming with players names and that was it. There are just constant reminders that no matter what, the Eagles are ALWAYS the underdogs. Ridiculous.
Thing to hate #2: Oh wait…there isn’t one!
Thing to LOVE #1: Foles does his thing in prime time
The Eagles have won 9 of their last 10 games in prime time when Foles is in at quarterback. He is in complete control during these games. The matchup with the Rams was no different. Something about the Super Bowl MVP calms down the offensive players which allows the defense to then do their thing, which will be discussed later. But, this guy hung in there, looked confident, took some nasty shots, and continuously delivered excellent balls to his receivers.
I don’t know what it is about this guy…but I’m happy he’s an Eagle for a few more games. He’ll get the start again on Sunday against the Texans.
Thing to love #2: Using ALL of the weapons
One of the biggest takeaways, I think, from this game is the utilization of players not named Zach Ertz. It’s been obvious for a few weeks now that Ertz is the only option for Wentz in certain situations. Typically it works out, but it removes some of the dynamic value that the rest of the Eagles offense has. What made the Eagles offense so successful last season was their array of weapons that had so much talent, it was extremely difficult to defend. That has not been the case this year.
Against the Rams, the Eagles committed to the run early, and never got away from it. Not only that, but they used their arsenal of weapons the right way. Alshon Jeffery is one of the best 50/50 jump ball receivers in the league. Wendell Smallwood made the most of his minutes on the field as well.
Thing to love #3: Avonte Maddox
This guy was a STEAL. He’s smaller DB that some analysts questioned how successful he would be at the NFL level. When Rodney McLeod went down with a torn MCL in week 3, the Eagles moved Maddox to safety and he’s had a good rookie season in that role. Because of the injuries, he’s also had to play in the slot, as well as on the outside. This kid can do a little bit of everything and he does it WELL.
HThe Eagles played Maddox outside last night where he recorded three tackles, two passes deflected, and an interception. His interception was huge to stall a Rams drive that was rolling right down the field.
For a fourth round pick, as a rookie, he has certainly shown why the Eagles drafted him. At this point, he’s higher up on my list than Sidney Jones.
Thing to love #4: That defense, led by Fletcher Cox, was ON POINT
Cox was in beast mode last night. He was constantly in the mix for getting pressure on Jared Goff and recorded the only sack of the game. Cox also had three tackles. He was a force to be reckoned with and that was AFTER coming back on the field afterbeing carted to the locker room. He was the best defensive player to set foot on the field last night BY FAR. Also, shoutout to Jim Schwartz for letting the big guys go after the quarterback last night.
Another point of the defense I was impressed with last night was the tackling. There were still a few missed tackles here and there, but for the most part the tackling has improved. It had been at an abysmal level over the last few games and it seemed to tighten up against the Rams. Luckily, it looks like the Eagles might also get Jordan Hicks back this week as well.
Thing to love #5: Winning all three phases for the first time
Last year the Eagles were consistently winning in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. This season, the special teams play had been average at best. There were a lot of special teams penalties, allowing some big returns, among other things. Finally the special teams got in there, recovered a fumble to really help put that game away.
Thing to love #6: Doug Pederson
Everyone has been extremely critical of Pederson this season, myself included. I’ve never been on the “Fire Doug” bandwagon but I know there is a group that feels that way. Although I haven’t agreed with some of his playcalling among other things, something that needs to be credited is his ability to keep this team together. Keeping the team together has a lot to do with captains and leaders, but it starts with the head coach. Pederson has managed to keep his guys together and focused regardless of their injuries or record. It would have been really easy for the team to lose focus and sort of quit on the season. However, they did the opposite. That credit belongs to Pederson.
The Eagles’ season is still alive
With a win over the Rams, the Eagles are still very much alive in the playoff hunt. In order to win the division, they’d have to win out and the Cowboys would have to lose out. Our best bet is a wildcard spot. We need the Panthers to lose tonight. With a Panthers loss, the Eagles playoff chances jump.
Foles has done it again for the Eagles. The hopes are still alive. The Linc will be rockin’ on Sunday as the Eagles take on the Texans. Let’s go!