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Eagles and Rams showdown lived up to the hype, and then some

This was a playoff-caliber game.

The top two teams in the NFC faced off on Sunday. And Eagles vs. Rams lived up to high expectations.

It had everything you could possibly hope for in a game. There were lead changes galore, blocked punts returned for touchdowns, ridiculous turnovers, and one of the most improbable touchdown catches we’ve seen all season.

This matchup also had some things you hope to never see — namely the knee injury that forced Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game toward the end of the third quarter.

While things looked grim for the Eagles after Wentz headed to the locker room, they still managed to clinch the NFC East with the unexpected 43-35 win.

Carson Wentz left the game with a knee injury

This was a huge blow to the Eagles. Wentz was hit in the legs on both sides on a touchdown run. The worst part is that it didn’t even count. The score was called back for a holding penalty on Lane Johnson.

Wentz was able to stay in the game for the rest of the series, and he hit Alshon Jeffery with a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to give the Eagles a 31-28 lead. But he went directly to the locker room after that. The team ruled him out almost immediately.

The Eagles fear Wentz tore his ACL, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It’s painful for the Eagles to lose Wentz after he’s put together an MVP-caliber season so far. But the rest of the team stepped up in his absence.

How did Alshon Jeffery catch this?

The Wentz injury definitely took a little of the luster off of Jeffery’s touchdown catch. But it deserves appreciation.

The ball goes low and Jeffery pulls it in with his fingertips and keeps it from hitting the ground. And somehow Wentz manages to toss this touchdown while remaining almost perfectly still in the pocket because of his injured knee. Amazing.

Big special teams plays

The Rams blocked an Eagles punt and returned it for a touchdown in the third quarter to take a 28-24 lead over Philadelphia.

Every point mattered in a game that had five lead changes, with four in the second half. It didn’t end up paying off for the Rams, but it was a heads-up play.

Former Rams getting revenge

It had to feel good for these players to get the win over their former team.

Chris Long forced a Jared Goff fumble that put the Eagles in position for a Jake Elliott field goal. Nick Foles finished 6-of-10 for 42 yards. And Rodney McLeod had four tackles against his former team.

Some silly mistakes

We saw a costly fumble from Goff, who just held the ball too long. That’s a dangerous proposition against the Eagles, who had a +7 turnover differential on the season coming into this game.

The Rams were also flagged for leverage, which is using a teammate to get higher in an attempt to block a Jake Elliott field goal.

Elliott hit the field goal anyway, though the penalty gave the Eagles a first down. Elliott got another shot at it, and he nailed it again, giving Philadelphia a 37-35 lead.

The Rams closed out the game with one last mistake. Goff had just one second left on the clock to try to get a win, and he connected with wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. Cooper lateraled to Tavon Austin, who tipped it into the waiting hands of Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham. Graham twisted the dagger with a scoop-and-score.

Here’s hoping that this is the level of play we get this postseason.

The top stories from Sunday’s NFL action