Eagles Wake-Up Call: Carson Wentz Played His ‘Best Game Of The Year’

The Eagles' rookie quarterback rebounded nicely after recent struggles.

Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson. (USA Today Sports)

On the surface, it’s easy to find fault with Carson Wentz’s performance during the Eagles’ 27 to 22 loss to the Washington Redskins. The 23-year-old rookie quarterback threw an interception in the red zone and he fumbled on the Eagles’ last offensive play of the game. The fact is he failed to lead his team to a comeback win.

But it would be largely remiss to assign a lot of blame for Philadelphia’s second loss of the season to Washington on Wentz. The rookie signal caller played a lot better than the numbers showed on Sunday, which is something Doug Pederson noted after the game.

“I think, one, we were down to our fourth right tackle at the end of the game with Matt [Tobin],” said Pederson. “I thought Carson [had] probably his best game of the year, quite honestly, just the way he hung in there, battled the adversity with the changes up front. The guys worked hard for him, too. It was a great effort. We were down to one running back. I thought Ryan [Mathews] hung in there and did a good job as well. But Carson, overall, really did a nice job today.”

Wentz’s final stats suggest he was just OK: 32/46 (69.6%), 314 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 86.7 passer rating. His stats don’t include the context of his underwhelming supporting cast, however. As Pederson said, the Eagles’ offensive line situation was a mess. Brandon Brooks was a surprise inactive for the second time in three games due to an illness. The Eagles were on their fourth string right tackle due to Allen Barbre leaving the game earlier.

Philadelphia was also down to one running back: the one rusher who played in his first game since missing time with a knee injury. And as if you needed a reminder, Wentz is still working with one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL each week.

But despite being playing in less than ideal circumstances, Wentz was mostly brilliant. A lot of his passes were very accurate. The supposed “mechanics” issues weren’t largely present against Washington. Wentz’s sole interception came two plays after he threw an absolute dime to Jordan Matthews in the back corner of the end zone. Philadelphia’s leading receiver failed to drag his second foot in-bounds to secure the touchdown. Instead, Wentz threw a pick after having a communication issue with Zach Ertz.

“I think it was just more a little miscommunication,” said Wentz. “I was thinking one thing, Ertz was trying to get a little back shoulder I think. And we just weren’t on the same page. It was cover zero and the ball got out quick and they made a play.”

It’s also difficult to put too much blame on Wentz for the fumble at the end of the game. Tobin did a poor job of blocking Ryan Kerrigan in any capacity and essentially gave the pass rusher a free shot at the rookie quarterback.

The fact of the matter is that Wentz was under pressure all day long. He was sacked four times and hit 10 more times. Wentz made a number of dazzling plays to avoid sacks and get the ball off.

As impressive as Wentz was, however, the reality is that the Eagles didn’t win. The rookie quarterback was quite aware of this fact during his post-game presser.

“Hard to say,” said Wentz when asked if he agreed with Pederson’s assessment that he played his best game of the season. “We lost. That’s what really matters. We lost. We didn’t finish at the end. Kind of like when we played them last time. We had a chance to finish the game and win it on offense and we didn’t do that. And that’s really all that matters.”

That’s the right response from Wentz. At the same time, Pederson isn’t wrong for praising the rookie’s performance. Wentz showed franchise quarterback material once again.

When reflecting on the season, it’s easy to get caught up in how the Eagles were 3-0 and have since dropped to 5-8. Then again, expectations weren’t exactly very high headed into this year. This season can’t solely be defined by the lack of a playoff run. Instead, the progress of Wentz should be an encouraging sign for the future. Wentz has struggled in recent weeks so the fact he was able to get back on track against Washington is a positive sign. Keep in mind he’s still on pace for a promising rookie season.

The Eagles have three more games left this year. The Birds don’t have much to play for in terms of making the playoffs, but that doesn’t make these games completely meaningless. The goal now is for Wentz to play well and stay healthy. From there, the Eagles will ideally be able to use the offseason to give him more help (such as signing DeSean Jackson?) and get him ready for Year 2.


11 things we learned from the Eagles’ 27-22 loss to the Washington Redskins.

“I don’t know who that guy is, but I thought it was b.s.” That guy, Washington’s Deshazor Everett, got some backlash in the Eagles’ locker room after injuring both Brent Celek and Darren Sproles.

Instant Observations from the Eagles’ fourth loss against another NFC East team this season.

Revisit some of the highlights from the game, including the long snapper fiasco.

Brandon Brooks was a last minute inactive with an illness.

How did this week’s picks against the odds go, and what’s the pick for tonight’s game?

“It’s definitely a position where it’s like, well, if they had kept what they had in place they would have been fine.” DeSean Jackson talks about potentially rejoining the Eagles during the offseason.

“There’s a lot of corners, so if you need one, this’ll be the year to get one.” Mel Kiper Jr. says there’s a ton of quality cornerbacks in this year’s NFL Draft.

Carson Wentz is still on track to have a very good rookie campaign.


With starting long snapper Jon Dorenbos and emergency backup Brent Celek both out, the Eagles were forced to find a third string long snapper, which turned out to be Trey Burton. But Mychal Kendricks wanted to get into the game in some way, pens Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.

“I don’t know what Kendricks was doing, but I know I was the third guy (on the depth chart),” Burton said.

Kendricks said he wasn’t asked by coaches to start snapping, but he practices on his own quite often. He just wanted to be ready.

“I just did it. I just did it,” Kendricks said. “I’m ready for whatever, man. S—. I’m not playing much anyway, ya feel me?”

Where is Kendricks on the long-snapper depth chart?

“I’m not on it. I’m just ready,” he said. “I was just ready. You know?”

Lincoln Financial Field’s other tenant, the Temple Owls, have contacted quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo about their vacant head coaching opening, as Marc Narducci of the Inquirer reports.

“I don’t know of his interest or of Temple’s level of interest, but I know he has been contacted,” the source said.

The Owls are looking to replace Matt Rhule, who was hired Tuesday as Baylor’s head coach. DeFilippo, 38, is a product of Radnor High. His father, Gene, was a former athletic director at Villanova.

John DeFilippo is in his first year as the Eagles quarterbacks coach after serving as the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2015. This is his 10th season as an NFL assistant. He also has spent seven years as a college assistant but has not been a head coach.

Temple defensive coordinator Phil Snow is someone the school plans to interview, a source said. Snow, according to two sources, would be interested in the job.


Doug Pederson will have his day-after press conference around noon.

Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.