Eagles edge Rams as Wentz goes down with knee injury
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles might have lost star quarterback Carson Wentz for the rest of the season even as they clinched the NFC East title.
Wentz threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns before leaving with an injured left knee and Jake Elliott kicked the go-ahead 33-yard field goal with 3:45 left for the Eagles, who beat the Los Angeles Rams 43-35 in a thriller Sunday to clinch their first division title since 2013.
Two sources familiar with the injury tell The Associated Press that doctors believe Wentz has torn his left anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season and playoffs.
“I don’t know anything yet until we evaluate him fully tomorrow,” said coach Doug Pederson, adding that Wentz will have an MRI on Monday. “It’s just a report. You’re speculating that he’s going to be out. I was really blocked on the play so I’ve got to check out the tape tonight on the way home. He did get up a little hobbly. I knew something was up but didn’t know the extent of it, obviously.”
Wentz had a brace on his left knee as he was driven up the tunnel at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a golf cart. He got off and hobbled about 30 feet to one of the team buses.
Asked about Wentz’s mood, Pederson said: “He’s excited. NFC East champs, he’s fired up.”
Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information.
Wentz was hit hard as he dived into the end zone on a play that was called back because of holding. He stayed in the game and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery four plays later to give the Eagles a 31-28 lead.
Nick Foles replaced Wentz on the next drive for Philadelphia (11-2).
“I just saw him favoring his leg a little bit and it’s just one of those things where he toughed it out, threw a touchdown,” Foles said. “He’s one of the toughest players I’ve played with. He came to the side and got checked and I was told be ready to go in.”
Foles said Wentz was waiting for the team when it came into the locker room after the game.
“The guy’s really rallied. It means a lot to this team, it means a lot to me. Excited we’re NFC East champs but it’s emotional, a guy you work with every day who you think the world of, you know I think he’s the MVP; it’s not easy but I know this team will step up and rally no matter what.”
The NFC West-leading Rams (9-4) then went up 35-31 on Todd Gurley’s second short TD run.
Elliott kicked a 41-yard field goal to pull the Eagles to 35-34. His go-ahead field goal was set up when Chris Long, a second-round draft pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2008, had a strip-sack of Jared Goff, with Rodney McLeod recovering.
Seeing Wentz go out didn’t change the Rams’ thoughts on their chances to win.
“There was still the whole fourth quarter left, and Nick’s no slouch himself,” Goff said. “He’s played in the league for a long time and can do some things and clearly showed that tonight.”
The game ended on a crazy play, when Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham grabbed a lateral by Tavon Austin out of the air and scored what was ruled a 16-yard fumble return.
WENTZ AND GOFF
This was the eighth time in the Super Bowl era that quarterbacks taken No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the same draft squared off, with the No. 1 dropping to 5-3. Goff was the first pick overall in 2016, followed by Wentz.
Goff threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Wentz bounced back from throwing an interception on the game’s third play to throw touchdown passes on the Eagles’ next three possessions for a 21-7 lead. He threw a 5-yarder to tight end Brent Celek and a beautifully threaded 20-yarder to Trey Burton in the first quarter, and then another nicely thrown scoring pass to Burton in the second quarter, this one for 11 yards. Wentz’s 33 TD passes are a franchise single-season record.
The Rams scored twice in a span of less than two minutes early in the third quarter to take a 28-24 lead. The big momentum swing came when Blake Countess returned a blocked punt 16 yards for a touchdown. The punt was blocked by Michael Thomas, and the ball bounced right to Countess in stride.
Eagles: Aside from Wentz, starting tight end Zach Ertz missed the game with a concussion.
Rams: CB Kayvon Webster, who intercepted Wentz on the game’s third play, ruptured an Achilles tendon and was taken off the field on a cart late in the first quarter. Tackle Andrew Whitworth also suffered an ankle injury but returned. Trumaine Johnson was in the concussion protocol.
Eagles: At New York Giants on Sunday.
Rams: At Seattle on Sunday.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report from Philadelphia.