At first, there was the euphoria of achieving a hard-fought 43-35 victory that brought with it the crown of NFC East champions.
There were championship hats being handed out, hearty backslaps, high fives and big smiles. It didn’t last as long as maybe it should have because reality set in quickly afterward that the quarterback who had a big hand in delivering the title would likely be lost for the remainder of the season.
“We were all fired up with the win,” said center Jason Kelce, thinking back to last December’s game. “Obviously we knew he got hurt, but we didn’t know the severity until we talked to trainer afterward. It was definitely a shocking blow.
“We were excited to get the win, but the number one memory is that Carson Wentz was done for the year. He was having an MVP season, an incredible year, and we all know how that ended up turning out, but it was a pretty shocking blow to everybody when we heard, or at least the possibility. I don’t think (his season having ended) was set in stone yet.”
This year, the news that Wentz may be done for the season isn’t as abrupt, not as shocking. That he has a fracture in his back that may or may not have been seen sooner than earlier this week, or that that information was relayed to him in a prompt manner, is, but that is another story.
Wentz was having a good season statistically, with 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions with a 70 percent completion rate and more than 3,000 yards passing in 11 games. Yet, there seemed to be something off in some of his performances.
That something came to light on Monday when head coach Doug Pederson said Wentz was having back spasms and would be day-to-day this week as the team prepares for, ironically enough, another game in Los Angeles against the Rams. He has not practiced this week and he will likely miss at least Sunday’s game and perhaps beyond.
That means this will be Nick Foles’ show, with Nate Sudfeld being elevated to the backup role.
Foles stepped in cold last year, completing the win over the Rams in relief of Wentz, who tore two ligaments in his left knee in the game but not before rewriting the team’s single-season record for touchdown passes with his 33rd. He helped beat the Oakland Raiders the following week that clinched the all-important home-field advantage throughout the playoffs that launched the Eagles into Super Bowl LII.
Foles was coming off a summer where he hardly practiced due to an elbow injury and he fared pretty well, winning the Super Bowl MVP.
This year, Foles already has his feet wet, playing the first two games before Wentz was able to return from his offseason knee rehab.
“He’s the leader, he’s under center, (so) he’s leading,” said running back Josh Adams, who was still on the practice squad during Foles’ two start this season. “I’m here to do my job, he’s here to do his job. Whoever is out there, I’m riding with him 100 percent and I know they would do the same for me. I’m giving my all for these guys and I know they’re doing the same. I have trust in whoever is in that huddle. We’re going to keep this thing together and try to do something special.”
Foles obviously stepped into a better situation last year.
This year the deck is stacked against him and the team even making the playoffs.
If somehow that happens, well, then Adams will be right – something special would have happened, something very, very special, and with Foles leading the way again.