Carson Wentz's Knee Injury Overshadows Eagles' Big Win vs. Jared Goff, Rams

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles is escorted off the field at the end of the third quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

In a battle between two of the NFL's best young quarterbacks, Carson Wentz's team came out on top, as the Philadelphia Eagles earned a 43-35 victory on the road against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams.

Jake Elliott's 33-yard field goal with 3:50 remaining in the game was the difference. The Eagles clinched the NFC East with the victory.  

Wentz finished 23-of-41 for 291 yards and four touchdowns, while Goff threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

The win may have come at a big cost for the Eagles. The team confirmed Wentz, who has been among the top contenders for the MVP award this season, suffered a knee injury in the third quarter.

Wentz's injury came as he dove into the end zone on a two-yard run to try to put the Eagles ahead.

He remained in the game for four more plays, with the drive culminating in a two-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery on fourth down. The Eagles took a three-point lead, 31-28, following the score with 2:20 left in the second quarter.

Naturally, the focus was more on Wentz's knee. NBC Sports Philadelphia noted the timing of his injury made for a difficult Sunday for sports fans in the city:

The Eagles appeared to be in the driver's seat after jumping out to a 21-7 lead and taking a 24-14 advantage into the locker room at halftime. Wentz was responsible for all three of Philadelphia's touchdowns as he threw a TD pass to Brent Celek and connected with Trey Burton for a pair of scores.

The Eagles shared a replay of Wentz' third touchdown pass, noting the second-year star tied a franchise record in the process:

Burton entered Sunday having registered 534 receiving yards and three touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2014. Eagles safety Chris Maragos commented on Burton's big day:

The Rams got back into the game with a touchdown on their first possession of the second half. Goff found Sammy Watkins for a one-yard touchdown pass.

Los Angeles then turned defense into offense as Michael Thomas blocked a punt, which Blake Countess returned for a score. Fox Sports shared a replay of the touchdown:

Immediately after Jeffery's touchdown grab to put the Eagles back on top, the Rams responded with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a one-yard run into the end zone by Todd Gurley II.

The Eagles entered Sunday allowing a league-best 68.1 rushing yards per game, but Philadelphia couldn't stop Gurley from running for his most yards since a Week 7 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He finished with 96 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz and Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson commented on Gurley's improvement in 2017:

Although the Rams defense held the Eagles to two field goals over the remainder of the game, the offense couldn't capitalize. Los Angeles' first two drives following the touchdown ended in a fumble and a three-and-out.

The Rams' final play of the game also resulted in a fumble, which Brandon Graham returned 16 yards for a touchdown.

The Eagles will savor their first division title since 2013, but Wentz's injury overshadows anything else that happened Sunday.

With Wentz under center, Philadelphia looked like a legitimate Super Bowl threat. That may not be the case should Nick Foles have to start for the remainder of the season.

Foles was 6-of-10 for 42 yards and completed a critical nine-yard pass to Nelson Agholor in the fourth quarter to help the Eagles preserve the victory. He has started just 12 games since leaving Philadelphia in 2014, though.

Securing a postseason berth will take some of the pressure off Foles, and the Eagles have two winnable games against the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders before closing the regular season with the Dallas Cowboys.

The prospect of starting Foles in a playoff game won't be a comforting thought for fans in Philadelphia.

The Rams' focus shifts to Week 15, where they have a critical division clash with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks helped Los Angeles with a 30-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but beating the Rams next week would give Seattle the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Of course, a win would give the Rams a two-game lead in the NFC West, which would all but seal the division title for them with only two more weeks left in the regular season.