Eagles win and clinch top NFC seed, but the story will be Nick Foles' struggles

Shutdown Corner

With every misfired throw, slow decision that resulted in a sack or incompletion and every possession that went nowhere on Monday night, the Philadelphia Eagles saw their nightmare scenario.

The Eagles could talk themselves into success after Carson Wentz’s season-ending injury, and they had good reason for it. But on Monday night, Nick Foles and the Eagles offense was terrible against an Oakland Raiders defense that has had trouble stopping most teams this season. It was cold and windy, and both quarterbacks struggled. But there’s a good chance it will be cold and windy for a playoff game in January, and the Eagles will still have Foles at quarterback.

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The good news is the Eagles found a way to win. A late interception set up a game-winning field goal by cool rookie Jake Elliott with 22 seconds left. With the 19-10 win (the Eagles scored a meaningless defensive touchdown on a lateral on the final play), the Eagles have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The defense did play well, if you want a bright spot. But it’s the offense that will dominate sports talk radio in Philly this week.

Foles was fantastic in Week 15 against the New York Giants, taking over for Carson Wentz after his ACL injury. If that Foles shows up in the playoffs, the Eagles are fine. If Foles plays like he did against the Raiders, they’d be lucky to win a game. Foles was 19-of-38 for only 163 yards.

Foles got nothing going all night. The Eagles didn’t break 200 yards on offense until after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Foles was off all night. He held the ball too long, often seeming uncertain on where to go with the ball. He had a horrible interception in the fourth quarter when he had Zach Ertz open on a short pass and he threw it too high and too hard. The only reason the Eagles stayed in the game as long as they did was because the Raiders were just as sloppy. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had similar issues in bad weather. It was an ugly game that neither team really deserved to win.

Carr’s interception with less than a minute left to Ronald Darby gave the Eagles a shot. Foles finally hit a few short passes to give Elliott a shot at the win. Elliott’s 48-yard field goal with 22 seconds left gave the Eagles the late lead. The defense held, scoring a touchdown after the Raiders’ final attempt at a lateral went awry.

But the Raiders aren’t relevant to this season anymore. The Eagles are. They were a Super Bowl favorite with Wentz. They still have the top seed in the NFC. There was hope with Foles, especially after how he played against the Giants. Now there has to be some concern. The offense looked really bad.

Eagles fans are impatiently waiting for a Super Bowl, and it seemed for a long time like this could be the year. That dream isn’t dead. It just depends which version of Foles shows up in the playoffs. The Eagles better hope it’s not what the one we saw Monday.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles struggled in an ugly Monday night game against the Raiders. (AP)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles struggled in an ugly Monday night game against the Raiders. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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