Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had another rough day and it may be time to really be concerned with his play and decision making. In the 37-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Wentz missed open receivers and made some questionable throws, leaving much needed points on the field.
Wentz finished the day 26 for 43 with 242 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. The quarterback finished the day with a QB rating of 56.5, one of the lowest rating since the Week 2 game last year against Atlanta (61.3). The offense scored in only 4 of the 10 possession it had in the game.
While the Eagles were able to move the ball on most of their drives between the 20s, the offense could not convert their red one opportunities regularly, settling for field goals in those opportunities. In what was shaping up to be a high-scoring affair and the Eagles defense having trouble stopping Rams quarterback Jared Goff and tight end Tyler Higbee, the offense could not settle for three points each drive.
Wentz also added two rushes for 7 yards and a touchdown.
Before the end of the third quarter, Wentz threw a deep out to a wide-open DeSean Jackson for 25 yards. Wentz was given enough time to scan the field and step up to throw an accurate pass to Jackson. Up to that point in the game, it was the longest play from scrimmage for the Eagles.
Spreading the ball around
Wentz targeted seven different receivers, completing the ball to six of them. The lone receiver to not catch a targeted pass was J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who dropped a pass in the first quarter. When the routes downfield were covered, Wentz made sure to check down to the running backs in the flat.
It also looked as if the Eagles were making a concerted effort to get the ball out quickly to negate the Rams pass rush and let the receivers use their athletic ability to make plays down the field. Of the 19 first-half plays that the Eagles attempted to pass, only two of them were for more than 15 yards. The Eagles once again worked the middle of the field.
In the second half, Wentz focused more on Jackson, connecting on the 25-yard pass, and targeted the veteran receiver heavily in the short passing game. Ultimately, it did not make a major impact.
Wentz missed high on several of his incompletions. One pass was a “medicine ball” that he threw to tight end Dallas Goedert in the middle of the field in the first quarter that was high and into double-coverage, almost leaving Goedert exposed with a defender coming for his midsection. He also overthrew Zach Ertz on a 3rd down play during the two-minute drill. Wentz still had some issues with overthrowing some receivers. No quarterback is ever going to be perfect, but when the opportunities are present when a receiver breaks open, he has to hit those.
In the 4th quarter on a 4th and 2, down 12 points, Wentz tried to force a pass to Goedert that went high. It would have been a tough completion, given that there were four Rams in the vicinity of the tight end.
On the 2nd quarter touchdown drive, Wentz used his legs to step up in the pocket and picked up seven yards when the receivers were all covered. Also, using his big frame, Wentz kept the ball on a quarterback sneak and scored. He also rolled out of the pocket more than he did last week, giving him a better sightline to see down the field.
When the Eagles were driving in the third quarter with momentum on their side, Wentz tried to thread a ball to Arcega-Whiteside, who was double covered. Cornerback Darius Williams jumped the route and picked the ball off. If he were to throw that ball into double coverage, he should have thrown it a split second earlier. Looking back on the play, none of the receivers were open and should have thrown the ball away.
Another thrown late in the fourth quarter intended for running back Miles Sanders was picked off by cornerback Troy Hill after Wentz tried to sidearm the ball. Trying to make the play, that was not the best pass to throw of most effective way of delivering it.
Wentz did do a better job protecting the ball when facing the Rams pass rush. When he stepped up in the pocket, he had his second hand hear the ball at all times, and he only lowered it when he was about to run. The interception was a bad decision and changed the flow of the game.
Wentz looked a little better than he did against Washington last week, but he missed open receivers and failed to see an open Goedert streaking toward the end zone in the 4th quarter, which could have given the Eagles a lead. He looked decisive in his decision making and looked calm in the pocket. The offensive line and running backs gave Wentz the time he needed to scan the field. Wentz is not playing at the level the team needs him to right now. Starting the season 0-2, he has to become the player he was at the end of last year. If not, it will be a long year in Philadelphia.
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Chris Franklin may be reached at email@example.com.