Nick Foles to the rescue? Again? Can it be possible? The setup is so perfect, just as it was last year when Foles replaced the injured Carson Wentz in the Eagles lineup and guided the team through the NFC playoffs and past New England in Super Bowl LII, winning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors along the way.
Foles replaced the injured Wentz on Sunday night in Los Angeles and the team around him responded with a stunning 30-23 win over the Rams, keeping the Eagles’ playoff hopes alive, no matter how flickering they might be. Foles completed 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards and an interception in the victory as the offense opened up, had some success down the field with the long ball, ran effectively and moved the ball with ease against the Rams for three quarters.
The fourth quarter was scary, as the Rams scored 10 consecutive points to make it closer than it had to be, but the Eagles held on and made Sunday’s game against Houston an interesting one for many reasons. The bottom line is this: The Eagles’ playoff hopes are alive, and Nick Foles is at the helm of the offense.
“I mean, Nick’s been here before. He’s a pro, seven-year pro. He’s been around the league,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “It really sucks to see a great guy like Carson go down, but it’s part of football. A young guy like Carson goes down and I think that’s why we got Nick around, a guy that’s been around the league and can throw the ball around.”
A back injury – a stress fracture discovered early last week after Wentz underwent extensive testing – has the team’s franchise quarterback on the shelf for, potentially, the remainder of the season. Coach Doug Pederson said he won’t play Wentz until there is a 100 percent chance that he won’t risk injury by being on the field. That means Foles is in position to remain the starting quarterback for the final regular-season games against Houston and Washington – and then potentially the playoff season after that.
Is this the definition of a quarterback controversy?
That’s not the way the Eagles look at it. Wentz is still the starter and the long-range Franchise Quarterback. Foles has a contract through the 2019 season, but next year’s salary is $20 million and includes both a player option and a team option so it’s unlikely that Foles will play here at that number.
But the situation does have the attention of the fans and media who have been vocal about the situation: What happens if the Eagles go on another magical ride with Foles at quarterback? What then?
“We have to just look at it like we won this game and we’re on to our next game,” Foles said. “I know that’s going to be the story, but no. It’s a new year, it’s a new team and a different situation. At the end of the day, I always talk about staying in the moment, tomorrow will take care of yourself. We’re going to enjoy this. This was a great team win. Just seeing the excitement in the locker room – it’s been a crazy year. But you know, we’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep working and we’re going to keep learning.”
We’ll see. Crazier things have happened, right? In the meantime, the Eagles are rallying around Foles with a playoff-atmosphere game ahead on Sunday against the Texans at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s must-win time, again, with Foles in a very familiar position. ••