Eagles

Eagles vs. Panthers Week 6 Observations and Reaction with Videos

Philadelphia Eagles - Brian Garfinkel

Make that seven touchdowns in less than a week, you can toss Carson Wentz’s name into the MVP discussion.

Watch out NFC!

Wentz outdueled Cam Newton on Thursday night in a game where each quarterback kept their chin straps tight throughout. Both were pressured consistently during a pivotal early season showdown between a pair of 4-1 teams, but it was Wentz who threw three touchdowns, while the former MVP tossed three interceptions, and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Carolina Panthers 28-23 in a thriller.

Wentz’s box score may not look great, just 16-of-30 for 222 yards, but when he wasn’t pressured, Wentz tossed all three of his scores and was 13-of-21 for 179 yards with a passer rating of 128.8. PFF finally showing the ginger some love!

Two throws in particular impressed me, and they came on consecutive plays. First he shows the pocket presence, toughness and elusiveness to step up in the pocket on a 3rd-and-16 and hit Mack Hollins to move the sticks. A play later, Wentz flipped a perfect ball with beautiful trajectory right into the waiting arms of Alshon Jeffery for a 37-yard completion down the left sideline.

He did learn a pre-snap lesson Thursday. Wentz loves to go to Zach Ertz on third down, especially when it’s less than 10 yards, but on a 3rd-and-7 with less a little over two minutes to play, he made the wrong decision. He should’ve seen before the snap that nobody was covering Nelson Agholor and he could’ve easily flipped the completion his way to move the sticks. Instead, Wentz and Ertz were unable to connect.

Live and learn.

The defense stepped up, though. Nigel Bradham, who was everywhere and made plays all night, had a key deflection on 3rd-and-1, and Newton threw low on fourth to seal the victory for the Birds.

Fletcher Cox made his presence felt with deep penetration. He had a half a sack and this bullrush on right guard Trai Turner allowed Rasul Douglas to come up with his second interception of the season. Cox pushed Turned right into Newton. Cox also paired up with Brandon Graham on a sack. The Eagles might’ve only gotten to Newton twice, but the pressure was there. Derek Barnett registered his first career sack.

The Eagles set the tempo of the second half defensively. Vinny Curry made a tackle for loss in run defense, Cox forced Newton to maneuver left and force an incompletion and Patrick Robinson finally corralled a pick after dropping three last week to give the ball to the Eagles. Wentz then hit Ertz for a 17-yard score. After a penalty put the ball at the one on the point after try, Doug Pederson had to emphatically yell at Pete Morelli to get his attention and let him know Philly was going for two. LeGarrette Blount, who had 14 carries for 67 yards, plunged in for the two points. The Eagles got eight and the Panthers settled for three on their ensuing possession and Philadelphia was up 18-13.

Remember how I was saying Bradham was everywhere earlier, this is why the Panthers had to take those three points.

Wentz’s third touchdown of the night went to Agholor, whose rebirth continues. He caught four passes for 55 yards and a 17-yard touchdown to increase the advantage to 28-16 late in the third. This was the same series Wentz converted the 3rd-and-16 and tossed the completion to Jeffery. The Eagles also got in on another TD celebration.

Newton had an unbelievable effort on an attempt where he took off, leapt and tried to wrap the ball around the pylon. He didn’t score, but Christian McCaffrey did to whittle the deficit to 28-23.

Earlier, it took the Eagles seven plays to score from 12 yards out following Douglas’ interception with six-plus minutes to go in the second quarter. Wentz remained perfect on the season in 4th-and-1 sneaks after Blount was unable to convert a 3rd-and-3.

Wentz hit Ertz from a yard out to tie the score at 10-10.

The Cox and Graham split-sack came on the Panthers’ next offensive sequence and took them out of field-goal range.

While this might sound rough, I want to start seeing more out of Alshon Jeffery. Yes, he opens up the field for everyone, but I thought he’d fare a lot better going against James Bradberry after having to deal with the likes of Josh Norman, Marcus Peters, Janoris Jenkins, Casey Hayward and Patrick Peterson over his first five games. Instead, he hauled in four receptions on 10 targets for 71 yards. It’s not bad, but he also had this drop. These are the 50-50 balls he’s getting paid to come down with. That was a well-place ball by Wentz on 3rd-and-10

I also thought the refs were atrocious. I don’t like playing that card, but when Blount pancakes someone in pass protection and a flag gets tossed, that gets me agitated. This is football!

Good thing none of the controversial calls cost the Eagles a win. They now have 11 days to wait until they take on the Washington Redskins in a Monday Night Football encounter.

 


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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