COSTA MESA, Calif. — After he took a brutal hit in the second quarter Sunday night, the NBC broadcast zoomed in on Carson Wentz's face.
He was grimacing in pain.
Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark jumped across the line early, left his feet and speared Wentz, who popped up but showed signs of pain on his walk back to the huddle.
Wentz was officially hit 12 times Sunday by the Seahawks and took even more shots than that, including one on the tail end of a slide that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Bradley McDougald.
On Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he talked to Wentz on the plane ride to Southern California and delivered the news to reporters that Wentz was "fine." Wentz certainly didn't look fine during the game, but Pederson said he didn't see his quarterback wincing. He said to ask offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
Reich did see the quarterback's facial expression and asked him about his health on the sideline during the game. There just isn't time for small talk. Reich said the conversation basically went like this:
Reich: "You good?"
Wentz: "Yeah I'm good."
Reich: "OK, then we're good."
Not much time for anything else. But during games, Reich keeps a keen eye on the quarterback from the sideline, and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo watches Wentz above from the coaching booth.
Reich has been impressed by Wentz's toughness.
"But sometimes as a player, and I think Carson falls into this realm, you thrive in that," Reich said. "I mean, you thrive in that. It doesn't feel good, but you're in the game. This is what football is. It's a physical sport, and just because he plays quarterback, that doesn't mean he's not a part of that. We all know that he's a little bit wired like that, but I still think he's done an excellent job of taking care of himself. I don't think he's taken a bunch of unnecessary hits, except for the illegal ones."
There's a fine line to walk in all of this. Wentz is a big 6-foot-5, 240-pound guy who can take a few hits, but protecting him is obviously the most important thing for the franchise.
Then again, he does have wheels and is pretty elusive for somebody his size. His legs and big body have made him a threat on the ground this season, especially in QB sneak situations. Through 12 games, Wentz has 26 first downs on the ground. That's the same number as LeGarrette Blount. And the only quarterback with more is Cam Newton.
Over the last two weeks, he's picked up nine first downs on the ground.
"Nine in two weeks is a ton," Reich said. "So that's just a credit to him being able to improvise and his physicality and athletic ability. When things break down, he just has that knack."
This balancing act is far from over. At least Wentz has shown he's tough enough to absorb some of these hits.