The Eagles beat the Rams 43-35 in a deliciously entertaining NFC East and playoff-clinching 43-35 thriller in Los Angeles Sunday that boosted them to 11-2 and returned them to the top seed in the NFC.
So why after that watershed conquest in which Carson Wentz threw for four touchdowns were so many faithful of Eagles nation wearing a death mask, the sort of fierce, unwavering expression you see on a gargoyle, frozen in malevolence?
Indeed, you could almost feel the air grow still and dark and cold as it does before the onset of some violent upheaval of nature when Wentz, who threw four touchdown passes, exited with an injured left knee that very well could be a season-ending and possibly Super Bowl-deflating torn ACL.
Suddenly a pin prick burst the balloon of hyperventilation, anticipation and trepidation bubbling forth from the Eagles’ populace.
Now backup QB Nick Foles, only four seasons removed from being the Eagles’ bronze-armed golden boy, is squarely in the crosshairs. If Wentz indeed is out for the remainder of the season, if what Foles has wrought henceforth goes down in flames, he will be the first one incinerated when the Eagles miss making the Super Bowl.
Make no mistake, Foles can play. Granted, compared to the athletic and improvisational Wentz, Foles seems studied, mechanical and lacking in liquidity.
The Birds will have to redesign their offense to play to the strengths of the less mobile and more traditional pocket passer in Foles if Wentz is out.
But the 2013 season is worth remembering for Foles. The Eagles won eight of his 10 starts and that was the year he finished with a gaudy ratio of 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions, including an NFL record-tying seven TD passes in one game.
If the MRI shows that Wentz’s left ACL is so much linguini, will past be prologue for Nick Foles and the Eagles?