Nick Foles Leads Eagles to Shocking Upset of Rams as Jared Goff Struggles on SNF

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

A year ago, Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl in place of an injured Carson Wentz.

He played savior again Sunday, keeping the Eagles' dim playoff hopes alive. The Eagles signal-caller threw for 270 yards and Wendell Smallwood rushed for two touchdowns, leading Philly to a 30-23 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Alshon Jeffery was responsible for 160 of Foles' 270 yards, with the pair connecting eight times. Their aerial attack is responsible for getting the Eagles to 7-7, which keeps them alive but still outside the NFC playoff race. The Minnesota Vikings' win over the Miami Dolphins hurt their chances earlier in the day.

Jared Goff threw for 339 yards and two interceptions without a touchdown in the Rams' second straight national television loss. His potential game-tying touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds fell incomplete as time expired.


Rams Need to Fix Jared Goff Problem Before Playoffs

Is Goff a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback, or is he Alex Smith, a guy good enough to get you in the conversation but never get you there?

It's clear teams have, to a certain extent, figured Goff out. The Detroit Lions started setting the blueprint by putting Goff under duress, the Chicago Bears perfected the mold in an all-out embarrassment last week, and the Eagles kept the downward spiral going Sunday.

For the majority of the past two seasons, Sean McVay has been a near-flawless play-caller and consistently put Goff in a position to make easy reads. McVay by his own admission did not call a great game in Chicago, and the Rams' game plan was snuffed out pretty quickly by Philly.

No Rams pass went for more than 20 yards until the fourth quarter. Goff consistently checked down, missed when he went downfield and continued his recent trend of turning the ball over.

Some of that is scheme. Teams have been playing Rams receivers soft and forcing the ball underneath. Part of that is an inability thus far by McVay and Goff to adjust.

Goff, in particular, has looked completely out of sorts when things start to break down. He's been much closer to the version of himself that looked like a borderline bust under Jeff Fisher than anything resembling an MVP candidate.

Obviously, this isn't a thing that can continue. The Rams' window is now. They've taken advantage of the cheap contracts to load themselves up on both sides of the ball. Goff is almost certainly going to get a new, long-term contract this offseason—and with that comes the departure of luxury additions like Ndamukong Suh.


Nick Foles Deserves to be Starting QB Somewhere in 2019

Wentz is an objectively better quarterback than Foles.

Are the Eagles better with Foles? It's hard to say no after this performance. There was an unquantifiable swagger and confidence to the Eagles offense that had been missing in recent weeks with Wentz. Jeffery went from the missing person's report to his best receiving performance in a half-decade.

Wentz's lingering back injury certainly played a part in his struggles, and he remains their long-term answer. But Foles should be the starter for the remainder of 2018 and is going to use this as an audition to get paid this offseason.

Despite rating records being broken with each passing season, quarterback play around the NFL remains objectively dreadful. The New York Giants might bring Eli Manning back next season because they're shuddering in fear that who they choose to replace him might be worse. Washington brought Josh Johnson in off the street. The Cardinals replaced Josh Rosen with Mike Glennon.

You get the point. The bottom of the NFL quarterbacking barrel is an endless abyss of guys who sort of looked decent five years ago and are somehow still getting jobs because the abyss below them is even lower.

Foles, at his peak, is probably somewhere around the 20th-best quarterback in football. He's in the Derek Carr-Andy Dalton-Jameis Winston tier of guys, which seems like damning with faint praise.

That is, of course, until you remember Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler comprise the Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterback depth chart.


What's Next?

The Eagles host the Houston Texans next Sunday. The Rams travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals.