In undoubtedly one of the best games of Week 14, the Los Angeles Rams fell late to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 43-35. This matchup was as good as advertised. It was a game that featured similar home field-advantage, a plethora of injuries, reciprocating momentum shifts and two sharpshooting offenses slugging it out until the final whistle.
Week 14 Los Angeles Rams Takeaways
Penalties Turn Out To Be Costly
What seemingly felt like a strength this season, several of Los Angeles’ big plays were derailed by downright unnecessary and unprofessional penalties. With a number of holding calls throughout the game, none was more demoralizing than Trumaine Johnson’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting Alshon Jeffery, following an incomplete pass attempt of third and seven. What should’ve been a challenging field goal for Eagles kicker Jake Elliott turned into a Jeffery fourth-down touchdown grab, handing Philadelphia a 31-28 lead.
The second biggest penalty the Rams caused took place late in the fourth quarter, when Samson Ebukam was wrongly tagged for leveraging on an Elliot 54-yard field goal attempt. Despite it being good which allowed the Eagles to regain the lead, Nick Foles and company consumed another four downs worth of time, ultimately leading LA to lose a strip-sacked ball and regain its following and final position with one second remaining.
Inconsistent Offensive Line
The Rams offensive line needed to play a masterful game for them to pull out a victory against the Eagles. A revamped line that featured the likes of future Hall-of-Famer Andrew Whitworth and well-respected veteran John Sullivan was expected to put out a solid showing against this fierce Eagles defensive front. It didn’t turn out as expected. Nigel Bradham and Patrick Robinson’s speed along with Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan’s physicality resulted too much for the Rams to handle.
Jared Goff didn’t have enough time to step back and settle inside the pocket, as the Eagles defensive linemen were hitting the corners while cluttering the middle of the pack as well. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz sent numerous blitz packages all throughout the game, which has turned out to be one of Goff’s biggest weaknesses as an NFL signal-caller. Todd Gurley played an exceptional game, accumulating 138 yards of total offense. Despite carrying the ball only 13 times, the third-year running back was contained throughout the final couple of possessions due to the injuries of both Whitworth and Rob Havenstein.
Jared Goff or Carson Wentz
The jury is still out on which quarterback was most deserving of last year’s number one overall pick. The game stats will clearly pinpoint Wentz as the overwhelming favorite with his 291 yards and four touchdowns on 23 passes, compared to Goff’s 199 passing yards and two touchdowns. Wentz, unfortunately, exited the game late in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. The Rams, at that point, were in the midst of a 14-point comeback, which ultimately led to a lead early in the fourth.
Wentz has had the better season, by far. It was evident today, however, that his overall staff and teammates are undoubtedly more experienced and more talented. Boasting one of football’s best offensive lines, the former North Dakota State quarterback’s game elevated following Alec Ogletree’s aggravated arm injury, along with the loss of both starting corners, Kayvon Webster and Trumaine Johnson. Having two bruising running backs also adds to Wentz’s forte, but that offsets with Gurley’s resurgence this season.
Nonetheless, both quarterbacks are still in the midst of their development as football players. One game doesn’t and shouldn’t define who they will turn out to be within a decade or so.