Column: Focused on the now, Nick Foles does his job to deliver Eagles a win over Rams

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles gets a pass off despite pressure from Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald during the second quarter Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Nick Foles connected with his Philadelphia receivers on the field Sunday night, but he wasn’t interested in connecting the dots off it.

Yes, the Coliseum is where the Eagles, with Foles at quarterback, started their improbable march to their first Super Bowl victory last season.

Yes, this is where Foles, as a sophomore at the University of Arizona, handed Pete Carroll his farewell defeat in his last home game at USC.


And yes, Foles, again stepping in for an injured Carson Wentz, led the Eagles to a 30-23 upset of the Rams to keep alive Philadelphia’s flickering playoff hopes.

But Foles is squarely focused on the now. No looking back, or beyond the plane ride home.

“I know that’s going to be the story,” he said after the game, referring to the suggestion that this somehow parallels the start of last year’s magical run. “But it’s a new year, a new team, a different situation. At the end of the day, I always talk about staying in the moment, and tomorrow will take care of itself.”

Thanks to what they were able to accomplish Sunday night, there is a tomorrow for these Eagles. They still have a heartbeat in the playoff race, a viable candidate in what has become a very muddy NFC picture.

There’s no more running away with the conference and gliding across the finish line for New Orleans and the Rams. It’s hard to know what to believe in the NFC.

The Rams have lost back-to-back regular season games for the first time in the Sean McVay era.

New Orleans lost to Dallas, a week before the Cowboys were on the wrong end of a 23-0 humiliation Sunday by Indianapolis.


Seattle lost in overtime at beat-to-a-pulp San Francisco.

Chicago clinched the NFC North on Sunday, but is a mere two weeks removed from losing to the last-place New York Giants.

So at 7-7, the Eagles are still in contention for a wild-card spot and could even wind up winning the NFC East if they were to win their final two games, and Dallas were to go 0-2.

But this was a strange week for the Eagles, with a quarterback change and so much intrigue surrounding the health of Wentz, dealing with a fracture in his back. Through a media representative, he declined to speak with reporters Sunday night, pulling on his noise-canceling headset and trudging up the Coliseum ramp toward the bus, rolling suitcase in tow.

His coaches and teammates were muted in their reaction to the big win. Clearly, they were careful not to pile too much praise on Foles, either.

It seemed as if the Eagles were all reading the same postgame playbook, careful not to rave about Foles, last season’s Super Bowl most valuable player, as to avoid what could be an explosive situation. This team doesn’t need a quarterback controversy.

“Just normal,” tackle Lane Johnson said with a shrug when asked what Foles showed him in the game. “He doesn’t really get riled up too much. Doesn’t get too up or too down. He’s just pretty consistent.”

Foles was far from perfect. He floated some passes, one of which was intercepted. He showed some real toughness, too, absorbing some punishing hits from Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh among others, but didn’t shy away from continuing to step into his throws.

“Each game is different,” Foles said of the hits. “Sometimes you take a bunch of little ones. Sometimes you don’t get hit much and there are a couple big ones. Today, they got a couple good licks on me, but I’m perfectly fine.”

He completed 24 of 31 passes for 270 yards, including a 50-yard connection with Alshon Jeffery that traveled 48 yards in the air. It was an impressive performance considering Foles hadn’t played for 12 weeks.

He said of the past week: “It was really emotional. You hate for your teammate to get hurt. I feel really bad for Carson. We’re tight in that QB room. But then you don’t really know what’s going to happen. You start taking reps — it’s been awhile — you go through the human emotions.

“I don’t care what you’ve done in the past, what I’ve done in the past, it doesn’t really matter when you step on that field. It’s a new day.”

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer