Carson Wentz completed 23 of 36 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Eagles' 31-3 beating of the Bears Sunday afternoon (see Roob's observations). He had a passer rating of 109.4.
Wentz had another stellar performance, keeping his name near the top of the list of favorites to win the NFL MVP award.
"This is just Carson being Carson," head coach Doug Pederson said.
Pederson said that as he finished answering a question asking if he ever anticipated this type of performance jump from Wentz in his second NFL season. Pederson said he didn't but that he prayed his team would be able to "do some of the things that [they've] done."
Carson Wentz is answering those prayers.
Aside from his touchdown totals, Wentz's numbers aren't staggering. He hasn't thrown for over 300 yards in a game since Oct. 8, but he's doing absolutely everything the Eagles need. He's making crucial plays at crucial times. And he's been doing it all season.
At this point, the Eagles expect this from Wentz.
"Yeah. And he expects it for himself," running back Corey Clement said. "He puts in the hard work and effort. I don't think it's anything surprising to him because if you work hard enough, good things should come. I don't think anything has come by luck. It's happened for a reason. Because he's putting the time and effort in."
The Bears hadn't gotten a chance to face Wentz since last Sept. 9, 2016, in Chicago. That was his second career game. The Eagles won that Monday night, but Wentz had a pretty modest showing.
He's not a rookie anymore.
"The difference between who we played last year and what he was today, the margin is crazy," Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. "He is just so much better than he was."
Sunday was Wentz's fifth game this season with three or more touchdown passes. He's one game shy of Norm Snead's franchise record of six, set in 1967.
Wentz leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 28. He's just four shy of Sonny Jurgensen's team record of 32, set back in 1961.
He's also just the third quarterback in NFL history to throw 28-plus touchdowns and no more than five interceptions through 11 games. The other two to do it are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
So Wentz hasn't just been good. He's been historically good. And he's been even better than the statistics indicate.
Time and time again this season, Wentz has pulled a Houdini move to escape from a would-be tackler. He did it again early in the second quarter Sunday afternoon. With Bears defensive back Kyle Fuller barreling down on him, Wentz somehow pulled a spin move to his left and scampered for a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-9.
It wasn't quite the magic trick he pulled against Washington, where he escaped from a pile, but this one was pretty good too.
"It's week in, week out," Nelson Agholor said. "I love my dawg because that's what he does. He's very mobile. He's just tough too. Outside of the ability to juke defenders, he's just tough. If somebody is hanging up on him, he's trying to shed them off and make plays. A lot of respect for him."
The only plays more impressive than the ones when Wentz avoids hits are the ones when he takes them. There have been countless times this season Wentz has stared down pass-rushers and delivered throws knowing a hit was coming.
He did the same thing Sunday against the Bears.
"You cannot deny his toughness," Agholor said. "He's second to none with that."
With every game, it's becoming more and more possible that Wentz will become the first Eagles player to win the league MVP award since Norm Van Brocklin won it in 1960, also the last year the Eagles won a championship.
"The things that we saw in him looking at him before the draft or the things that we're starting to see now," Pederson said. "He's such a competitor, and his will, his determination to make things right and the way he can elevate the play around him, meaning the guys around him, has just been incredible."
Wentz had another Wentz-like performance Sunday to the surprise of none of his teammates.