Carson Wentz said it around a half dozen times about several topics during his 8 1/2 minute postgame press conference following Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Patriots.
“I have to be better.”
Sure, Wentz went into Sunday’s game without Jordan Howard and without Alshon Jeffery. Then it certainly hurt to lose Lane Johnson in the second quarter. And, overall, his teammates aren’t giving him enough help.
But forget all those excuses for a second. Wentz is right. He needs to be better. He certainly needed to be better on Sunday.
Sometimes the franchise quarterback has to put the team on his back and win a tough game. Wentz had that chance on Sunday night and he didn’t come through.
Even after all their offensive pitfalls on Sunday, Wentz was able to lead the Eagles’ offense down the field late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game. The Eagles began a drive at their own 6-yard line and got all the way to the New England 26.
That’s where the drive stalled.
Down seven points, the Eagles had a 1st-and-10 from the Patriots’ 26-yard line with 1:18 left on the clock and Wentz threw four straight incompletions. By the time the Eagles got the ball back, the game was basically over.
“I have to be better in those situations,” Wentz said. “I have to be better and give them a chance. They made a couple of good plays on the other ones. Like I said, it’s frustrating to be right there and fail to execute four straight times.”
On first down, Wentz overthrew Zach Ertz. On second down, he soared a ball over Nelson Agholor in the flat. On third down, he missed Ertz again. On fourth down, he threw an impressive deep ball into the end zone that Agholor couldn’t pull in.
Ertz had caught every ball thrown his way on Sunday night until this crucial drive. And then that normally reliable connection failed the Eagles at the worst possible moment. One was just a bad throw from Wentz. On the other, Ertz had an option route and explained he should have been more “definitive” for Wentz.
“There are two definitely to Ertz that I think we both want to have back,” Wentz said. “We just weren’t on the same page a little bit. And one I definitely missed.”
While his teammates didn’t give him a ton of help, Wentz missed far too often against the Patriots.
Wentz on Sunday completed just 20 of 40 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked five times — on some of them he held the ball too long — and also lost a fumble.
“I have to get rid of the ball,” Wentz said. “They had some good coverages and stuff, but I have to get rid of the ball and be better with that.”
His 50 percent completion percentage against the Patriots tied his single-game NFL low. (He completed 11 of 22 passes against Washington in Week 6 of his rookie season.)
While Wentz definitely made some great plays on Sunday — like the first play of the penultimate drive, when he escaped pressure and hit J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for a big gain — he wasn’t consistent enough.
Now, this doesn’t have to devolve the way most debates around Wentz usually do. It’s possible to criticize Wentz’s performance on Sunday without saying he’s not a franchise quarterback. It’s possible to criticize Wentz’s performance without mentioning a certain former Eagles quarterback who helped win the Super Bowl a couple years ago.
But it’s also completely fair to expect more out of Wentz.
On Sunday night, Wentz spoke at the lectern in the bowels of Lincoln Financial Field wearing a camouflage sport coat, but it certainly didn’t help him disappear. All eyes are always on No. 11.
I give Wentz credit for owning his mistakes on Sunday. He could have passed off blame to a lack of weapons or a lack of protection or a lack of production from the guys around him. None of that would have been wrong.
But Wentz was right. He needs to be better. And it’s fair for us to agree with him.
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