Carson Wentz’s days standing around and watching his teammates play in the postseason are over. His days holding a clipboard and supporting Nick Foles are over. His days feeling left out while all his teammates play the most important games of the year are over.
It’s January, and Wentz is healthy and playing lights-out football as the Eagles head into the playoffs for the third straight year.
Wentz makes his playoff debut Sunday when the Eagles face the Seahawks in a wild-card round game at the Linc.
“I’m excited,” Wentz said. “Just how grateful I am to be healthy and be in this moment with these guys, to be on the field. I’m just excited for the challenge. I’ve been on the sidelines the last few years for these games, so I’m pretty pumped or the opportunity.”
The Eagles finished the season on a four-game winning streak, and Wentz completed 68 percent of his passes, throwing for 300 yards per game with a 100.8 passer rating during those four games. He threw 7 TDs with 0 INTs.
There's no reason to expect anything different from Wentz on Sunday.
“As far as how we prepare and how we approach the game, nothing changes,” Wentz said. “We know what’s on the line and to some extent we’ve kind of felt that way the last few weeks. We’ve kind of had our backs against the wall. It’s a one-game season, we’re excited for it. It’s going to be a fun one.”
Sunday shouldn’t feel any different than any other game for Wentz. He’s played very good football in what amounted to four straight must-win, playoff-stakes type of games, and he’s done it with an ever-changing cast of unknown receivers.
“The last month, they have (all) been playoff-type games for us,” Doug Pederson said. “This team is battle tested that way and we prepare that way. I think in Carson’s case, he doesn’t have to focus on (this being his first playoff game). He doesn’t have to focus on anything more than just continuing to lead this team and doing the things that have made him successful down the stretch here. I don’t want to add any more stress or pressure on him. Just the game itself, it’s a one-and-done mentality and I want him to play free and not have to worry about things in the past that are out of our control.”
The last five weeks of the season, the Seahawks went 2-3 and allowed the 9th-most points in the NFL.
During those same five weeks, the Eagles went 4-1 and scored the 9th-most points in the NFL.
There’s a lot to like about this matchup between Wentz and the Seattle defense.
“Everyone kind of feels the sense of urgency, but I don’t think anyone presses or feels they need to do anything different,” Wentz said. “We know what we have to do. Offensively, we know we’ve got to take care of the football, we have to stay on the field, we have to put some points up on the board, and we’re excited for the challenge.”
Wentz will be the 7th quarterback to make his first career postseason start in an Eagles uniform but only the 4th quarterback the Eagles have ever drafted to start a postseason game in an Eagles uniform, along with Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb and Foles.
Here’s a look at the six quarterbacks who’ve made their first career playoff start in an Eagles uniform:
Saints 26, EAGLES 24, 2013 wild-card game
23-for-33 [70%], 195 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 105.0 passer rating
EAGLES 21, Buccaneers 3, 2000 wild-card game
24-33 [72%], 161 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 90.6 passer rating
49ERS 14, Eagles 0, 1996 wild-card game
14-for-21 [67%], 148 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 47.4 passer rating
EAGLES 58, Lions 37, 1995 wild-card game
17-for-25 [68%], 270 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 143.3 passer rating
BEARS 20, Eagles 12, 1988 conference semifinal game
27-for-54 [50%], 407 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 52.0 passer rating
Eagles 21, STEELERS 0, 1947 championship semifinal
11-for-17, 131 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 127.3 passer rating