Eagles

Bad Carson Wentz then Good Carson Wentz doesn't cut it for Eagles

Bad Carson Wentz then Good Carson Wentz doesn't cut it for Eagles

ATLANTA — More inconsistency. Another slow start. An incredible rally. An agonizing measurement. A disappointing loss.

What a strange day for Carson Wentz.

Wentz had one of the most unusual games we’ve seen Sunday night in the Eagles' 24-20 loss to the Falcons, just a horrible first half and what appeared to be a rib injury followed by a riveting second half that ended with a a remarkable comeback and a crushing finish.

First half: 6-for-16, 47 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 6.2 passer rating.
Second half: 18-for-26, 177 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 101.0 passer rating.

Wentz nearly rallied the Eagles to an improbable win despite playing the entire game without Dallas Goedert and virtually the entire game without Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson.

But in the end, same old story.

No consistency.

Another slow start followed by a big finish. Against the Redskins, you can get away with it. Against the Falcons, you can’t.

Wish I had an answer,” Wentz said. “It’s something we’re all looking at. By no means making excuses but we were trying to figure out who we had out there and get guys in the right position. I think the coaches did a good job of that, we just have to execute better. We’ll take a hard look at it. I know we say that all the time. But that’s what we’ll do.

What a strange night.

Wentz took a vicious shot in the ribs from linebacker Deion Jones while throwing a late first-quarter interception, and he sure seemed to be struggling with his delivery the rest of the half.

He said he's fine. Just a little sore. No problem.

“It’s football,” he said. “I got hit a few times. That’s just how the game goes. I’ll be a little sore tomorrow but it’s nothing serious.”

Wentz also left the game for six snaps just before halftime to undergo a concussion test —  Josh McCown converted a couple first downs in his absence — but he quickly came back.

Wentz said he didn’t undergo any treatment at halftime, but something clicked.

He looked more fluid, and the Eagles looked like a different team.

Maybe it just took a while for Wentz to click without three of his top weapons. But he just looked like a different person in the second half.

“It’s tough,” Wentz said. “You game plan all week and you have have all these personnel packages and then they all go out the window on game day. But coaches do a great job and so do the guys; Mack (Hollins) and JJ (Arcega-Whiteside), guys were ready to step up.”

Nelson Agholor had over 100 yards but dropped a touchdown that might have won the game. Ertz was 8-for-72 but came up a few inches short inside the 10-yard-line on 4th down in the final seconds. Hollins helped out with 5-for-50 — all in the second half.

As for Wentz, his rushing TD with 3:13 left gave the Eagles their first lead of the game at 20-17 and should have been the game-winner.

He spiked the ball so hard he almost fell down.

Then Julio Jones ran 54 yards, Agholor dropped a sure touchdown, Ertz came up inches short and the Eagles’ slow starts and inconsistency cost them a win.

It’s frustrating, it’s frustrating,” Wentz said. “Slow start as an offense, we battled back, we did our thing late, we scored, they scored, we got right down there and came up six inches short. It’s frustrating. I’m really proud of the guys, I’m encouraged with the way the guys fought and bounced back from some adversity. But that doesn’t win you ballgames and we just have to learn from it.

This team should be beyond patting themselves on the back for fighting adversity and showing resilience.

They need to find a way to play 60 minutes, and so does their quarterback.



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What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

Remember how overmatched Miles Sanders looked after gaining just 25 yards on 11 carries in the opener against the Redskins? Remember how lost he looked a week later when he was just 10-for-28 in Atlanta?

Three weeks into his rookie season, Sanders was averaging 3.1 yards per carry and ranked 28th out of 33 qualifying running backs.

Six from the bottom.

Since then?

Sanders has blossomed.

In the Eagles’ last nine games, Sanders is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, 7th-best in the league of 53 backs during that span.

Six from the top.

In a season with very few positives, Sanders’ development has been fun to watch.

What’s been the difference?

Sanders is just seeing things better, he’s running more decisively and he's moving the chains forward.

Nothing demonstrates that better than his percentage of carries that have gone for one or fewer yards.

In his first game, more than half his carries went for one or fewer yards (6 of 10). Through five games he was still at 35 percent, with 19 of 53 runs that went less than two yards.

In the last seven games, that number has dropped precipitously. Of his 62 carries since the Vikings game, only nine — nine of 62 — have been one or fewer yards. 

“I feel like I’ve been getting better and better each week,” the second-round pick from Penn State said. “Everybody’s been telling me that, but most importantly, I’ve been noticing it myself, just trying to get better and do it each week. I feel more confident just as far as reading where I’m supposed to be, getting my eyes in the right place and just playing ball out there.”

Sanders has 520 rushing yards and needs 118 to break LeSean McCoy’s franchise rookie rushing record of 637, set in 2009.

He has 879 scrimmage yards and needs 130 to break DeSean Jackson’s franchise rookie scrimmage yards record of 1,008, set in 2008.

Going into this weekend, he was second to Raiders 1st-round pick Josh Jacobs among rookies with 879 scrimmage yards and fourth in rushing (behind Jacobs, David Montgomery and Devin Singletary).

Is Doug Pederson using Sanders enough?

That’s a different question. 

Sanders is averaging 4.5 yards per carry overall but still has only the 30th-most carries in the league and the 25th-most touches among running backs. 

“I think you're seeing the patience in the running game,” Doug Pederson said. “His vision is better, it's improved from Week 1 to Week 13. The more he gets time, the more he gets snaps, the better he'll get.”

Sanders has taken care of the production. Now it’s up to Pederson to take care of getting him more snaps.

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Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

9:57 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! 

We have waited a long time for tonight, but the Eagles will host Eli Manning and the Giants tonight at the Linc. Here are five matchups to watch.

If you’re heading to the game, bring your rain gear. 

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