For most of the night, it was same, ol’ Carson. Inconsistent throws. Poor decisions. A terrible turnover.
And the Eagles appeared headed for another miserable loss.
But something happens with this guy. When things are at their most hopeless, Carson Wentz finds a way.
He did it Sunday with a 22-point fourth quarter that almost rallied the Eagles back from 18 points down against the Ravens, and he did it again Thursday night with two TD passes in the game’s final 4 1/2 minutes to lead the Eagles back from an 11-point deficit.
“We’d love to not be in those situations where our backs are against the wall,” Wentz said after the Eagles improved to 2-4-1 with a 22-21 win over the Giants at the Linc. “We left a lot of plays out there. We were in the red zone a lot and didn’t score many points. Those are the things we have to clean up and be better. But when our backs are against the wall and we have to make plays, I’m going to give guys all the opportunity in the world to make them.”
Wentz the last two weeks in the first three quarters: 31-for-55 for 358 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 68.6 passer rating.
Wentz the last two weeks in the fourth quarter: 15-for-28 for 214 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 118.2 passer rating.
He changes. The mistakes disappear. Touchdowns miraculously appear. Magic happens.
“Quarterbacks sometimes get measured by 4th-quarter comebacks, and the last couple of weeks, we've put ourselves in position to really either tie the game a week ago, and of course this week win the game,” Doug Pederson said. “That's what it takes. Especially the situation that we are in health-wise as a team, we know these games are going to be probably closer than we would like. But it is good to see your quarterback standing there, go toe-to-toe, take some shots and still lead your team down the field for the win.”
Wentz has had his problems this year. He threw his NFL-leading 10th interception in the second quarter, he’s still near the bottom of the NFL in accuracy and he has yet to play a consistent 60 minutes.
But he’s a guy that never stops grinding, never stops battling, no matter what it says on the scoreboard. That rubs off on his teammates and gives this team a chance until the clock runs down to all zeroes.
He’s now thrown more touchdowns in the fourth quarter (six) than in the first three quarters combined (4).
On Thursday night, just like in the Ravens game, he took a brutal beating — sacked three times, hit 10 times by the Giants — but shrugged it off.
He drove the Eagles 78 and 71 yards in the game’s final 6 1/2 minutes, throwing spectacular TDs of 3 yards to Greg Ward and 18 yards to Boston Scott — two practice squad alums — in the span of less than four minutes.
This was the first time an Eagles QB has thrown two TDs in the final five minutes to win a game since Nick Foles threw TDs to Clay Harbor and Jeremy Maclin in Tampa in 2012 in Andy Reid’s final win as head coach of the Eagles.
“There wasn’t a lot of time, but we said there was enough time,” Wentz said. “There’s enough time, we just have to keep believing and just take it one play at a time. Obviously we were in turbo, on-the-ball, two-minute mode the rest of the game. (It was) the same thing that I echo every game when we’re down: ‘Just keep believing, just one play at a time and a big play is going to hit. It’s going to happen.’
"John (Hightower) had the big one that first drive and obviously Boston on the second drive. Guys just keep believing and keep rallying together and that’s what it’s going to take to win a lot of these ball games.”
The mistakes are still happening. The inconsistency. The turnovers. The misfires.
And they drive you crazy.
But the fourth-quarter magic is there, and it’s special. And if he can just bottle that up and spread it out over four quarters? The Eagles just may be able to salvage something out of this ugly season.
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