The Eagles' offense is now what we thought it would be all season – explosive, diverse, high scoring. An offensive line that has withstood in-and-out changes for much of the season is playing its best football. The passing game is electric. The running game is effective enough to keep defenses honest. And the play calling has been daring and aggressive and confident.
Back-to-back games of 30-plus points have put the Eagles in position to finish the regular season on a high note. What took so long to put it all together on a consistent basis? It's not just the play of Nick Foles at the quarterback position, right? It's more than that, of course.
"A lot of guys and a lot of plays go into that," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said on Wednesday at his weekly NovaCare Complex press conference. "Collectively, as a unit, we've made enough plays to be able to score enough points to win the games in the end. Certainly, quarterbacks always get a lot of credit for that, and deservedly so. Nick has played at a high level, and I think the guys around him are making plays for him."
Foles cited elements like "brotherhood" and the ability to "fight through adversity" as keys to success. He's right. The chemistry in the locker room and on the field has to be there. Every team is going to have setbacks, so how prepared is that team to overcome the tough times?
A lot of the early and midseason inconsistency for the offense happened because some critical pieces – quarterback Carson Wentz, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and running back Darren Sproles, for example – were missing from much of Training Camp and for all of the preseason and, in the cases of Jeffery and Wentz, not there for the start of the regular season. Sproles, for his part, played the first game against Atlanta and then missed 10 consecutive games with a hamstring injury.
"Not having that work together, that cohesiveness, it took us some time to get that back, I think," head coach Doug Pederson said. "We were off just a little bit here and there and didn't put it all together for 60 minutes. It's taken some time."
Foles, preparing to start Sunday's game at Washington in what could be his final one in an Eagles uniform – he's got one year remaining on a contract that reportedly pays him $20 million and includes both a team and player option – has business to accomplish against the Redskins, but he also talked on Wednesday about the overarching progress the offense has made this season.
"We just continue to work it – the players, the coaches. We continue to look at the film. We continue to work the plays, the relationships in the locker room," Foles said. "We've shown spurts throughout the year, we just haven't been able to put everything together. I think what it shows is that everyone continued to believe in one another, everyone continued to work with one another.
"You want to peak at the right time. Of course, you want to play well every single game of the regular season. We've continued to excel at every point of the season and we just have to keep focusing on it."
If only …
It's tough not to look back at the early-game struggles that happened most of the season, or the trials in the red zone, or the penalties that set the offense behind the sticks. When you're in a position the Eagles are in – needing to beat Washington on Sunday and Chicago to defeat Minnesota – you wish you could go back in time. But that's just dreaming. The reality is what it is. The Eagles showed signs against Washington on December 3 that the offense was coming around and then in the fourth quarter at Dallas that things were heading in the right direction, but not until the last couple of weeks has the offense played at the level we all wanted to see in September.
Maybe it's not too late. Perhaps the Eagles will get the help they need on Sunday.
"We're just going to go out there and do our jobs and have fun and play football," wide receiver Nelson Agholor said. "Just go play and enjoy what we all love doing, and we'll have success."