Constructive on Carson: Wentz puts Eagles in position for magical win

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor  

Despite some impressive moments in the team's Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a turnover and a slew of late sacks doomed quarterback Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2.

That game took place at Arrowhead Field, which is viewed as one of the more difficult places in the league for opposing teams to pull out a win. After their second consecutive road game to open the season, the Eagles finally returned home to Lincoln Financial Field for Week 3, welcoming in a struggling New York Giants team. 

Here are my in-game notes on Wentz's performance in the team's home-opener:

First Quarter

Drive One

  • The Eagles opened their third game on the 35, before Wentz took a sack to open the game. 
  • After a false start, the Eagles were forced into a third-and-15. Wentz was able to hit Alshon Jeffrey on a slant, but it wasn't enough for a first down. Three-and-out for Wentz and the Eagles to open the game. 

Drive Two

  • Wentz and the Eagles started their second drive on the 10, before Chance Warmack blew his assignment and allowed Wentz to be sacked on the two-yard-line. 
  • Wentz again hit Jeffery on third down, but like the first time, it wasn't enough for the first down. The Eagles suffered a second consecutive three-and-out, with Wentz given next-to-no time to operate on either of the first two drives. 

Drive Three

  • After a LeGarrette Blount run elicited sarcastic cheers, Wentz hooked up with Zach Ertz for the first Eagles first down of the day. 
  • On the seventh play of a run-focused start to the drive, Wentz kept the ball on fourth-and-short, which was the second last play of the first quarter, to get a first down. 

Second Quarter

Drive Three

  • To open the second, after Wendell Smallwood blocked former Eagle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for a first down. It was a pretty play, once where Wentz again thrived on a less-than-conventional play. 
  • With the pocket collapsing on third-and-eight, Wentz ducked under a defender and squeezed through a small hole made by Chance Warmack, giving the Eagles another first down. This is one of those plays that 95 percent of quarterbacks in the league just wouldn't be capable of making. 

  • This drive ended with a Blount touchdown, making it the most balanced drive of the season. Wentz is going to be capable of quite a bit more if the Eagles can at least keep teams honest with the threat of the run. 

Drive Four

  • The Eagles opened drive four with their third different left guard of the season, Stefen Wisniewski. 
  • On third-and-five, Wentz got the Giants to jump by using an Andrew Luck-esque hard count. That's a comfortable way to earn a first down. 
  • Wentz then hit Torrey Smith in a tight window and Ertz for another first down. 
  • After a few effective runs from Smallwood, Jeffery broke free for what should have been a touchdown. Instead, Wentz missed the throw, not even keeping it in bounds. There is a positive – Wentz missed long instead of short, but he can't continue to miss those deep balls. He has the arm strength to do it, he just hasn't found the touch. 
  • On fourth-and-eight, the Eagles lined up at midfield to go for it. Rather than simply trying to draw the Giants offsides, Wentz did snap the ball. He may have missed an open Blount, but the reality is that going on fourth-and-long in that situation was asinine. The same exact sentence could have been written in the first game against the Giants last year, except for the part discussing Blount. 

Third Quarter

Drive Five

  • After a slew of impressive runs from Blount, Wentz hit Jeffery over the middle on third-and-six for his first completion of the second half. 
  • On second-and-nine, Wentz probably should have been sacked. Instead, he found a small hole and turned it into a three-yard gain. It's a small play in the grand scheme of things, but was impressive nonetheless. It also got the Eagles three yards closer to a potential field goal. 
  • The drive ended with Jake Elliot pulling a 52-yard attempt to the left, which kept the game at 7-0. 

Drive Six

  • Wentz opened the sixth drive with another impressive run. 
  • The Eagles were able to convert their second fourth down of the game on this drive, again on a quarterback keep. 
  • After rolling out to the right, Wentz gave Jeffery a chance to make a game-changing catch on the two-yard line. Despite the fact that his throw on the run wasn't exactly impressive, Eli Apple held Jeffery, which led to a defensive pass interference. 
  • Wentz had a wide-open Ertz in the endzone, and fired a pass that ended up as an incompletion that Ertz wasn't able to reel in. This pass, given how open Ertz was, had too much velocity on it and was a tad behind where it should have been. It could have been caught, but Wentz made the play way more difficult than it needed to be. It was like when a power hitter in baseball gets excited about a hanging breaking ball, but instead of depositing it in the seats, he gets too eager and pops it directly up in the air. 
  • Luckily, the duo redeemed themselves on the next play, with Wentz hitting Ertz for a touchdown. 

Fourth Quarter

Drive Seven

  • Drive seven, which started at the end of the third quarter, ended with a three-and-out, after Jeffery wasn't able to haul in a pass from Wentz. 

Drive Eight

  • After Wentz opened the drive by hitting Ertz, Landon Collins punched the ball loose and the Giants recovered the ball. Well drawn up play, ugly execution. 

Drive Nine

  • Wentz and the Eagles opened drive nine, now tied at 14, at their 17. 
  • On a third-and-six, Wentz was able to hit Agholor to convert for a first down. As Troy Aikman said on the broadcast, he probably could have hit him earlier. 
  • Jeffery got called for offensive pass interference on a failed third-down conversion, which ended the drive. 

Drive 10

  • Wentz hit Smith on consecutive passes to open up the 10th drive, with the second pass being a 14-yard completion, the longest of the day. 
  • The Eagles got the ball advanced to the Giants' 16 after a pass interference play when Wentz tried to connect with Smith on a long pass. It's great that Wentz is taking chances deep, but this was another throw where he really wasn't even close to completing a deep ball. In his defense, Smith wasn't wide open on this play, but it is concerning how off his deep balls have been this season. 
  • The drive ended with a Corey Clement touchdown run, which was a good quick response from the Eagles after the Giants took a 21-14 lead. 

Drive 11

  • Down 24-21, Wentz opened drive with a nine-yard completion to Smallwood. 
  • Following the completion, the Eagles had three consecutive impressive runs. Smallwood started things off, running for a 20-yard gain, which he followed with another nine-yard gain. Blount then spelled him, running for another first down. 
  • After a costly penalty from Jeffery, Wentz hit Ertz over the middle for a 12-yard gain. This gain put them back in realistic field-goal range. For good measure, he hit Ertz again on the next play. 
  • On third down, Pederson put Wentz in motion to the right, where he fired a pass to Jeffery on the sideline. Jeffery didn't make the catch, but it was an impressive play-call nonetheless. Wentz thrives in motion, you were targeting the best receiver on the team and there wasn't a chance for a turnover on the play. 

Drive 12

  • After failing to do anything on first down, the Wentz hit Jeffery for a 19-yard completion. That set Pederson up with a tough decision, do you attempt a 61-yard field goal or take a shot at the endzone? Though a ton could have gone wrong on a field-goal attempt, Pederson elected to have Elliot try the field-goal. That decision worked out…

Week 3 Takeaways

  • A lot is going to be made of Pederson electing to for a fourth-and-eight near midfield in the second quarter with the lead, as it should. But if Wentz hits an open Jeffery prior to that, Pederson is never even given a chance to make that awful call. 
  • We'll get to more on this early this week, but how much Wentz has struggled with the deep ball thus far is alarming. 
  • Wentz did a good job this afternoon of limiting potential turnover chances, something he had issues with in the first two games. 
  • Down the stretch, Wentz remained composed, which both allowed the Eagles to tie the game and allowed them to get in position for the game-winning field-goal. He certainly has displayed flaws through his first 19 games, but his composure should excite Eagles fans.