The Rams lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday by a score of 43-35. However, the game was actually much closer than that. Much closer than an eight-point game? Yes, by a landslide. The matchup of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz was everything that it promised to be. Unfortunately, it was also highlighted by the tragic loss of Wentz for the season due to a knee injury. In a game that went back and forth like a tennis match, LA could not get it done in the final minutes. While some fans may feel uneasy over officiating, refs don’t win or lose games at the end of the day.
LA got out to a hotter start than they could’ve hoped for, intercepting Wentz and scoring within the first few minutes. The Philadelphia offense caught fire after that, scoring on three straight possessions. Wentz consistently got his team down to the redzone and found his tight ends Brent Celek and Trey Burton for touchdowns. Jay Ajayi also played a significant role in helping the Eagles move the ball, running very effectively.
After a start that seemed meant to be, the Rams found themselves down 14. However, they righted the ship and were able to put together a scoring drive. This drive was thanks, almost, entirely to Cooper Kupp who gained over 70 yards and scored. Kupp made multiple men miss down the sideline and devastated the ankles of Malcolm Jenkins.
The Eagles then found a way to notch a field goal right before the half.
Down 10 coming out of the half, LA certainly had their work cut out for them. After putting together a beautiful scoring drive that featured plenty of Todd Gurley, the defense took the field. Forcing a quick three-and-out the Rams seemed primed to put more offensive points on the board. Luckily, they wouldn’t have to. Thanks to a Michael Thomas blocked punt, Blake Countess was able to scoop a loose ball for a touchdown.
The Rams now possessed their first lead since the first possession of the game and showed no signs of slowing down. LA would later find itself sitting up 35-31 over the Eagles after another Gurley touchdown. A gutsy Doug Pederson playcall had the Eagles hot on the Rams tails, but they seemed to have a handle on things with Wentz out. However, former Ram Chris long was able to sneak around the edge and strip Goff in LA territory. To make matters worse, Rodney McLeod, another former Ram, scooped the fumble. Foles was able to ensure the Eagles were set for a makeable field goal, cutting the Rams lead to one.
Another punt and field goal later Goff had the ball in his hands. With just under four minutes Goff needed a scoring drive to win the game, but it didn’t happen. After being forced to punt the defense was unable to get an efficient stop. The Rams took over with time for one wild play, that ended up going for an Eagles touchdown.
Most Valuable Player – Todd Gurley
Gurley was excellent on Sunday. As he went, so did the Rams offense. The star running back averaged over seven yards per carry and also contributed in the passing game. Hauling in three passes for 39 yards, the Rams are a very dangerous team running screens. Gurley also did a good job clogging things up when pass blocking, never afraid to stick his nose in. The question that begs to be answered is why he did not get even more touches, as he was so excellent.
Least Valuable Player – Rob Havenstein
Havenstein has been very solid this season. However, the young right tackle was very poor on Sunday. Now, he did get injured late in the game. Even before being injured and reentering Havenstein was frequently getting beat like he stole something. Yes, the Eagles have an excellent pass rush, but this just was not good enough. The most influential play of the game (strip sack) was a result of a missed Havenstein pass block.
Sunday’s game underwent five lead changes. Four of those changes came in the second half, with the Rams and Eagles trading points frequently. A strong offensive performance for both teams, their defenses were so shaky the game was like a tennis match.
What the loss means
While before this week the loss likely would have knocked the Rams out of contention for a first-round bye, it is no longer impossible. Given the Minnesota loss and the Wentz injury, the possibility of the Rams winning out and having a shot at the one or two seed is still real. However, the loss more realistically means the Rams failed the capitalized. The Seahawks lost on Sunday to Jacksonville, but the Rams did as well. This means that LA still now sits just one game ahead of Seattle in the division and next week’s game is crucial.
Looking to bounce back next week, the Rams will take on the Seahawks. Going down to Seattle in the first matchup of the season, the game on Sunday is crucial. The game is not a “must-win” for the Rams but will be vital to their chances at the division. This is especially true because if the Rams lose next week Seattle will own the tiebreaker in the division. Stay tuned for content this week ahead of the matchup.
- AFC & NFC Conference Championship Game Predictions
- Betting AFC and NFC Championship Games
- Playoff Power Rankings
- Ranking the Young Quarterbacks Heading Into 2019
- Ranking the Playoff Defenses