If you’re having a hard time recalling a quarterback as accomplished as Carson Wentz who suffered such a dramatic decline, there’s a good reason for it.
It’s never happened.
Wentz is doing things this year that have never been done. But not in a good way.
Thanks to Stathead, we were able to come up with some facts and figures to quantify Wentz's unprecedented plunge from one of the NFL's best quarterbacks to one of the worst almost overnight.
Wentz came into the season with a career passer rating of 92.7, which was 8th-highest in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 career pass attempts coming into the 2020 season.
His passer rating so far this year is 73.4, some 19.5 points below his previous career average.
Nobody this good has ever been this bad.
Off to a Hot Start
There are 22 quarterbacks in NFL history who had a career passer rating of 85 or higher with at least 1,500 attempts in their first four seasons. Including Wentz.
None of the others had a passer rating in his fifth season anywhere near as low as Wentz’s this year.
The closest is former Eagle Ken O’Brien, who brought an 86.8 passer rating into 1988, his fifth season, and had a rating of 78.6.
But that was only a 10-point drop from his career rating going into the season. Wentz’s is nearly a 20-point drop.
Three Straight Years over 90
Wentz had passer ratings of 101.9 in 2017, 102.2 in 2018 and 93.1 last year.
He’s one of 19 quarterbacks in history to record three straight seasons with a passer rating of 90 or higher (minimum 400 attempts) at any point in their career. Those 19 QBs have combined on 24 streaks of at least three straight seasons with a rating of at least 90.
None of the other QBs ever had a passer rating within 10 points of Wentz’s current rating in their first season after that streak ended.
The lowest passer rating ever recorded by any QB coming off a streak of at least three straight 90-point seasons belongs to Alex Smith, who had an 85.7 rating for Washington before getting hurt in 2018.
In fact only two of those 19 quarterbacks ever had a rating below 75 at any point the rest of their career. They were 39-year-old Peyton Manning and 41-year-old Brett Favre, both in the final seasons of their Hall of Fame careers.
Best of the Best
Wentz is among 14 quarterbacks with a passer rating of at least 100 in any of his first four seasons in the NFL and one of only five who did it twice.
The lowest passer rating any of the other QBs with two seasons over 100 had in any season at any point the rest of their career (with at least six starts) was Kurt Warner’s 85.8 mark in 2005 with the Cards. Wentz is more than 10 points below that.
The only QB that ever had a rating of 100 in the first four seasons of his career once and then had a lower rating than Wentz at any point the rest of his career is Dan Marino, who had a 67.4 rating as a 38-year-old in the final season of his Hall of Fame career in 1999.
Whatever happens the rest of the year, Wentz is already the first quarterback in NFL history to throw seven or fewer interceptions in three straight seasons (minimum 400 attempts) to throw 10 interceptions in a season at any point the rest of his career. He already has 15 this year.
What about Johnny U.?
There is one comparison to Wentz that might give Eagles fans a glimmer of hope.
That’s Johnny U.
Johnny Unitas had a passer rating of 87.3 (along with two NFL Championships) in his first four seasons with the Colts, from 1956 through 1959. At that point, that was the highest in NFL history. The NFL average for that four-year period was 63.1. Unitas wasn’t a full-time starter in two of those four seasons and doesn’t qualify for the list above.
But he's the closest comparison we have.
In 1960, in his 5th season, his passer rating plunged to 73.7 - still slightly higher than Wentz this year and far above the NFL average of 64.2 for 1960. He went on to a Hall of Fame career and won a third NFL title.
What does all this mean?
It's tough to speculate what happens next with Wentz since there's really so little precedent for what's happened so far.
Normally in these circumstances, you look to the past to help predict the future.
But what Wentz is doing is unprecedented. So who knows? All we can do is close our eyes, hang on for dear life and hope that the Carson Wentz of old isn't gone forever.