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Eagles Evaluation: Wentz Returns in Win Over Colts

By Gia Lanci, Sports Talk Philly Staff

On a rainy Sunday in Philadelphia, the first weekend of fall football was underway with Carson Wentz back after nine months of being out with a torn ACL. Carson had no sign of coming off an injury, other than an interception and a fumble. Overall, he played well with an exciting season to come. With many starters out because of injuries, he mainly looked for his tight ends. Second-string players had to step up to give Carson more weapons on the field. With too many penalties by the offense and the defense, the Eagles and Coach Pederson still have a lot to work on.

Below are my drive by drive analyses:

First Quarter

Drive One (Defense)

  • Eagles kicking off to the Colts with Zach Pascal giving the Colts a good starting position on their 30. Andrew Luck looking for T.Y. Hilton and cannot execute with a penalty pushing them back causing them to go 3 and out. Generating pressure on Luck was Chris Long, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox.

Drive Two (Offense)

  • Corey Clement gave the offense a great starting position on the 35, but a holding penalty pushing them back to their own 21-yard line. Wentz’s first pass of the game was incomplete intended for Joshua Perkins, following that was an Eagles first down pass to Ertz for a 17-yard gain.
  • Wendell Smallwood carrying the ball for another first down with the lead block from Lane Johnson. Smallwood with two other carries this drive showing he is a reliable weapon for Wentz to look to. Proving his worth while Darren Sproles is injured.
  • Each pass attempt by Wentz, complete or incomplete, was intended for a tight end on this drive, and much of the game. Carson threw a 13-yard pass to wide open rookie tight end Dallas Goedert for his 1st career touchdown. Eagles getting off to a great start leading the Colts 7-0.

Drive Three (Defense)

  • This drive was started off with a few mis-tackles from the Eagles on the kickoff. Their position was pushed back because of a Colts penalty. Andrew Luck with a quick handoff to Jordan Wilkins, didn’t get too far with the tackle by Fletcher Cox.
  • A screen pass by Luck to Wilkins, was shut down by an excellent one on one tackle behind the line of scrimmage by Jalen Mills. After that Luck looking to get eight yards but, he has a lot of pressure on him impacting him to throw an incomplete pass causing a fourth down.

Drive Four (Offense)

  • Not the best drive for the offense. This drive was full of penalties for the Eagles, which is the result of the score by the end of the drive. Jason Peters is back this game after limping off at the Buccaneers game last week. Peters causes a five-yard penalty, to make it seven yards to go.
  • Carson Wentz scrambling in the backfield alone with heavy pressure by the Colts defensive line, with a great throw to Ertz. Carson proving he is back and ready to play with that impressive throw under pressure.
  • Wentz attempts to throw to Zach Ertz, but he just couldn’t hold on with the coverage that is on him. Dallas Goedert was an open receiver that Carson missed, by throwing the ball too quickly. Then Wentz, in the pocket, scrambling once again, he gets sacked by lack of protection from the offensive line. But Carson ran up to the line of scrimmage making it no loss of yards on the play.
  • The Birds in long field goal range, Jake Elliott attempts a 55-yard field goal in the rain, that winds up being no good.

Drive Five (Defense)

  • With great field position at the Eagles 48-yard line, Luck comes out of the gate confident. Luck underthrows to T.Y. Hilton, with a sloppy pass interference by Jalen Mills, moving the Colts to have an automatic 1st down.
  • Colts at Philadelphia’s 15-yard line, Luck almost throws an interception with impressive coverage by Jordan Hicks, diving for an near interception. Jordan Hicks and Fletcher Cox making consistent defensive plays against the Colts.
  • Andrew Luck with a touchdown pass to Grant who just kept his feet in. Ronald Darby with good coverage on Grant, who just couldn’t execute the play, tying the score.

Second Quarter

Drive Six (Offense)

  • To start off the second quarter, Smallwood caught the ball in the endzone to give the Eagles a starting position at the 25.
  • Carson went to throw looking for open receivers, but the offensive line can not push the Colts defense back quick enough before Jihad Ward sacks Wentz. However, there is a flag on the play, which fortunately gives the Birds an automatic first down.
  • Corey Clement with a lot of action on this drive. Really trying to get Corey involved, the Colts defense stepped up, forcing a punt.

Drive Seven (Defense)

  • Andrew Luck really exuberating confidence on this drive, with confusion by the defense changing position at the last second, they go to blitz Luck. When he runs a 33-yard run for the first down and more. A mis-tackle by Chris Long. Malcolm Jenkins pushing him out of bounds. If the defense were more prepared before the play, they could have possibly sacked Luck.
  • For the next few plays the Eagles defense confines the Colts to a punt, by a quick pass batted away by Brandon Graham, to end that drive for the Colts.

Drive Eight (Offense)

  • Carson starting off this drive with high energy, a 19-yard pass to Dallas Goedert. Possibly, Wentz getting too excited, throwing an incomplete pass intended for Ertz. He did not have any other options.
  • Wentz threw a pitch to Josh Adams for his NFL debut, carrying for 33 yards. Not a bad way to start your career off. Adams then with another carry, with an excellent play- fake by Carson to allow Adams to gain 10 yards.
  • There seems to be a lot of confusion on the play calls in this drive, which causes Wentz to call a timeout. Earlier in this drive there was a delay of game caused by Carson as well. The team communication may be something they need to work on with Carson for upcoming games.
  • Jordan Matthews with his first catch back as a Bird, to bring the Eagles to 2nd down and 6 yards to go. Then Wentz with a huge pass to wide open Smallwood to bring the Eagles to the Colts 7 yard line. Jason Kelce causing a low snap in the red zone, luckily Carson fell on top of it, pushing them back only 7 yards. On the 3rd down, the offensive line giving Wentz plenty of time to throw, it is incomplete intended for Ertz. Inflicting Jake Elliot to try a 33 yard field goal attempt, which is good. The Eagles have the lead 10-7.

Drive Nine (Defense)

  • Jalen Mills with a fantastic low tackle before the line of scrimmage. Andrew Luck then gets increasingly high pressure by the entire defensive line, and quickly gets sacked by Derek Barnett, Chris Long, and Fletcher Cox.

Drive Ten (Offense)

  • Colts defense really put pressure on Carson this drive. Wentz able to escape the blitz with a spin move, runs and dives to carry out the first down. Incredible play by Carson Wentz proving he is back and able to run. But with no time left on the clock the Eagles lead, and will receive to start the second half.

Third Quarter

Drive Eleven (Offense)

  • Going into the second half the Eagles had to focus on less penalties, and continue to play smart. A quick first drive was ended for the offense by Colt’s defense deflecting Carson’s crucial 4th down throw which, was intended for wide open Jordan Matthews.

Drive Twelve (Defense)

  • Luck starting off the drive with a long pass to T.Y. Hilton avoiding the sack by the defensive line. Nigel Bradham with a lack of coverage on Hilton, allowing the 1st down for the Colts, early on in the drive. Colts offense unable to run the ball, with the defense stopping them quickly on those plays. Luck tries to execute another big pass, but with excellent coverage by Rodney Mcleod the pass is incomplete.
  • Colts able to get into field goal position, Eagles allowing them to do only that. Colts tie the game early on in the third quarter.

Drive Thirteen (Offense)

  • Wentz’s first pass of the drive is intercepted by Anthony Walker. It was intended for Zach Ertz. It was poor judgement on Carson’s part, since Walker was on top of Zach Ertz for the entirety of the play. The Colts are inside Philadelphia’s 20 yard line.

Drive Fourteen (Defense)

  • Andrew Luck comes right out. He passes to the end zone bobbled by Chester Rogers because of the fantastic coverage by Derek Barnett. Luckily, there was a flag on the play causing the Colts to be pushed back, with 20 yards to go. Carson’s interception was brought back by the Colts for a field goal, and taking the lead in the game.

Drive Fifteen (Offense)

  • Corey Clement to start the drive with an excellent run for a first down, with assistance from the offensive line. Wentz looks for his options, quickly decides to run to make it 3rd and 2. Clement with another good carry and an excellent block from offensive lineman, Joshua Perkins.
  • Carson with a great throw to wide open Ertz on the inside for a 28-yard gain. Another open tight end, which has been seen pretty consistently this game. Smallwood with a first down and more, with the help of the whole offensive line. Colts defense starting to pick up on the fact that Carson is throwing to mainly the tight ends, so Wentz throws an incomplete pass to Ertz because of the coverage on him. Colts defense will only allow the Birds to attempt a field goal to tie the game.

Drive Sixteen (Defense)

  • Quick drive for the Colts. Andrew Luck looking for T.Y. Hilton and cannot complete. Defense forcing them to a punt.
  • During the punt there was a penalty on the Eagles for running into the kicker. So the Colts went back to 4th and inches trying to draw the defense to a false start, they did not. So they go ahead and punt to Philadelphia.

Drive Eighteen (Offense)

  • Another quick drive for the Eagles, with Wentz scrambling on 3rd down, with tons of pressure, who then fumbles the ball for his second turnover of the game. It was recovered by defensive tackle, Margus Hunt.

Drive Nineteen (defense)

  • Andrew Luck starting off the drive, once again, with a pass to the end zone that is incomplete with great coverage by Mills to cause that incomplete and to end the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Drive Nineteen (Defense)

  • Eagles able to hold them to a field goal by Nigel Bradham with a great tackle. Andrew Luck and the Colts take the lead 16-13.

Drive Twenty (Offense)

  • This is the longest and most crucial drive for the offense to get on top. The offense getting more confident as the game goes on. Carson looking for tight ends and to hand off to Smallwood. Smallwood doing a great job getting extra yards after contact. A lot of penalties by the Colts hurting them, and putting the Eagles in better positions. Eagles taking their time, letting the clock run.
  • Carson gets sacked for the fifth time in the game, and they lose 9 yards. Trying to keep their momentum, Wentz to Matthews just short of the first down. Doug Pederson pushes them to go for it on 4th down with 5 yards to go. Carson with extreme pressure, throws an incomplete. But there was a huge penalty for the Colts, giving the Eagles a first down.
  • On 3rd and 9 yards to go, Wentz with tremendous pressure on him, he is grabbed by a defensive lineman, he gets out of it to complete a pass to Nelson Agholor who runs and dives for the first down. This was one of the most important plays of the entire game. They are now within the 30 yard line. Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood both carry to continue the momentum for the Eagles offense. A big penalty for the Eagles by the Colts defense to push them even closer to the end zone.
  • Smallwood runs through the middle for an Eagles touchdown, taking the lead, 20-16. With just about 3:00 on the clock.

Drive Twenty One (Defense)

  • The penalties of the Colts helped the Eagles score that touchdown. So the defense really has to be cautious in this drive. With that being said, Mills causes a pass interference resulting in a Colts first down. Luck throws a few complete passes to continue their drive. They are now inside the 10. Andrew Luck throws to Hilton, with great coverage by Ronald Darby.
  • 4th and 3 yards to go, the Colts are trailing by 4. Luck looking to pass, but quickly gets sacked by Derek Barnett.

Drive Twenty Two (Offense)

  • Eagles have an abrupt drive, with a few hand offs that are unsuccessful, they punt to the Colts with under a minute left.

Drive Twenty Three (Defense)

  • Colts offense unable to come up with anything. With the clock running out, Andrew Luck throws an incomplete hail mary intended to Ryan Grant that is swatted out of the air by Mills, Graham, and Jenkins. This ends the game with an Eagles win.

Offensive MVP

Of course Carson Wentz would be an easy pick, but there are definitely things Carson needs to practice for the upcoming games, since it was only his first week back. Wendell Smallwood was an underdog going into this season, with Darren Sproles back, Corey Clement, and Jay Ajayi. Smallwood was the fourth string running back going into this season. This game was his chance to prove himself with all the injuries. He knew they would have to use him as an offensive weapon. He had a great game including, running a touchdown in, at a crucial time, and helped the offense gain more yards after contacts.

Defensive MVP

Derek Barnett was a consistent powerhouse on the defense for the Birds. He made some key tackles. Including, right after Carson Wentz threw his interception, Derek Barnett was one of the main reasons the defense only held them to score a field goal. Also at the end of the game when he sacked Andrew Luck on their drive to the end zone.

Game One Notes

  • There were many penalties throughout the game potentially hurting both teams. For the Eagles they need to work on smarter plays. Doug Pederson needs to address the penalties and minimize them in a game situation.
  • Carson Wentz looks like he was healthy enough to play, there were still things he needs to work on. His communication with the team for one, there was a few different instances of confusion. He did have two turnovers with a fumble, and an interception, those are easily fixable things. The conditions on the field were a concern, but didn’t really affect his performance.
  • Comments

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    Denise Lanci

    Outstanding coverage of the game. Your drive by drive analysis is on point and extensive details. I was also happy to see Carson Wentz back and looking well, best of luck to him and Eagles for a great season

    Great reporting Gia!

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