As Carson Wentz unleashed his touchdown throw late in the second quarter on Sunday, I couldn’t help but say it out loud: “That’s dangerous.”
It would have been. For just about any other quarterback.
But Wentz has incredible arm strength and was able to complete the pass for a touchdown. In fact, his big-time arm strength and ability to use that arm strength outside the pocket showed up on two of the Eagles’ biggest plays in their 34-17 NFC East-clinching win on Sunday.
Let’s start with the touchdown:
This play came on 1st-and-10 with 2:01 remaining in the first half. Wentz hit Josh Perkins for a 24-yard score, but the ball traveled much farther than that in the air.
“It was a designed movement play where we were going to get Carson out of the pocket, obviously fake to the left, boot out to the field,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “Perk did a very good job with it. We’ve repped the play the last couple weeks. Perk, with his expanded role, was really only getting the reps the last week or so.
“But we got a unique coverage maybe that we weren’t anticipating on that particular play. I thought Perk did a good job of breaking all the way across the field in front of the safety there.”
The Eagles are in max protect with an extra tackle and both tight ends on the right side of the line, which is where Wentz is going to roll after the play action.
Despite the pre-snap look, the Giants are going to rush just three against this max protect and drop eight players into zone coverage. That might seem problematic for the Eagles, who will have just three passing options: Greg Ward, Boston Scott and Josh Perkins.
As Wentz is rolling, there’s nothing really opening down field. But the three-man rush just isn’t going to get there. And since Wentz is rolling to the field side, there’s really only one Giant who stays in pursuit. Andre Dillard will handle him outside. That gives this play plenty of time to develop.
“They had it covered pretty well,” Wentz said. “That was the play design. It just wasn’t supposed to happen that late. But like I said, they had it pretty well but Perk just kept running and outran the coverage. And it was pretty sweet.”
Dillard is getting the rusher wide, so Wentz has plenty of time to step into this throw. He could probably try to fire it in to Ward, but instead decides to make the big-time throw across the field to a streaking Perkins, who keeps the play alive.
You can see the safety on that side of the field bite hard because he thinks there’s no way Wentz delivers a cross-field throw 30-yards down field. He was wrong and Wentz catches his momentum going the wrong way. Perkins is able to get past him and Wentz delivers a throw on the money.
The end zone angle gives you a better idea of just how far Wentz rolls right before planting his foot and releasing the football. That’s what sold this play and allowed Perkins to get past the last defender.
“Carson, we know how good he is outside of the pocket, but he has the arm strength to be able to throw it like he did. Put it right on him,” Groh said. “Perfect amount of velocity to complete the pass and great job by Perk coming down with it.”
This next play was actually the first play of the fourth quarter. It came right after the Eagles took a shot down field to Rob Davis but the play was called back. So this time, they roll right and allow recently called up Deontay Burnett to stretch the field.
It went for a gain of 41 yards, the Eagles’ longest play of the day.
The Eagles are in a tight formation with no one spread out wide. Burnett (circled at the top of the screen) is going to stretch the field. Wentz is going to sell the play action and roll right again.
Nice trap block from Matt Pryor at right guard and nice job by Josh Perkins blocking the rusher 1-on-1 at the top of the screen. He isn’t a very good blocking tight end but he gets the job done here.
Unlike the first throw we showed you, this time Wentz is going to throw the ball on the move and deliver a strike. Great communication between Wentz and Burnett, who breaks toward the sideline to give Wentz a target.
Just an impressive throw from Wentz, who can either reset or throw on the run once he gets out of the pocket.
These are the kinds of plays that pop off the tape and a big reason the Eagles’ offense has rebounded.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.