The road to the Super Bowl will go through Philly as the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Raiders on Christmas night to secure the No.1 seed in the NFC.
There are ugly wins, and then there are really ugly wins.
Then there are the type of wins that the Philadelphia Eagles got on Christmas night against the Oakland Raiders. The kind that make you redefine your definition of the work “ugly.”
Despite a subpar performance from quarterback Nick Foles and the offense, the Birds managed to gut out a 19-10 win against a Raiders team that had nothing to play for. And believe me, the final score doesn’t do justice to how close the Eagles came to losing this game.
An Eagles team that under QB Carson Wentz looked unstoppable looked very, very beatable on Monday night. To say Foles had a rough night would be a massive understatement. He finished the night with 59.4 quarterback rating and completed only 50 percent of his passes. What was really troubling is that he seemed to get worse as the game went on. In the second half Foles went 6 for 17 for 44 yards with no touchdowns and a pick.
Add in that the Birds went 1 for 14 on third down and these are not the kind of stats you want to see when you team is heading into the postseason.
Luckily, the defense stepped up and managed to grab victory from the jaws of defeat. They made stops when they had to and forced five turnovers in the second half, including a Ronald Darby interception that set up the field goal that won the game. The defense held the Raiders to just 41 yards in their last nine drives and stepped up when needed, bailing out an offense that was just not clicking.
Then there was that Jake Elliott field goal. Is this kid clutch or what? After missing three from inside 40 yards this season, some wondered if Elliott had the leg to take up into the postseason. So of course he kicks a 48-yarder into some crazy wind with 22 seconds left to ensure an Eagles win. Damn impressive.
However, it must be said that if the Eagles want to make a deep playoff run, they need to make improvements and soon. The ability of the offense to make big plays has all but vanished and the team is not jumping out to an early lead as they did with Wentz. Forcing the opponent to play from behind and make up ground was becoming a hallmark of this Eagles team and under Foles it just isn’t happening.
Obviously a win is a win. None of this changes the fact that the Eagles are now 13-2 and go into a meaningless New Year’s Eve game against the Dallas Cowboys able to rest and start thinking ahead.
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But unless the Birds want to be one and done, head coach Doug Pederson needs to start making some adjustments and adapt the offense to what Foles bring to it. Otherwise we may see some more games that redefine what we think of as an “ugly” win.