QB film room: Carson Wentz and the ‘clutch comeback’ gene

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After a majorly disappointing loss to the Dolphins, the Eagles sat at 5-7. What surely should’ve been a Superbowl contending team suddenly looked like a long shot to even compete for a playoff spot. Arguably, they still do, but the face of the franchise and leader of the team stepped up.

With 591 yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs, Wentz delivered back-to-back comeback wins against divisional rivals and are pretty much a win against Dallas away from playing in the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row.

Let’s look at the tape and evaluate the performances of Mr. Wentz.

Timing and decisions were on point

In both games, Carson did a really good job of working especially the middle of the field vs zone. The Giants ran a lot of cover 3, bailing an inside LB in to a deeper 3Hole (middle of the field, deeper than a hook-curl zone). Take a look at throws from the Giants game:

Against the Redskins, Wentz did a really good job of reading blitzes and reacting to them; primarily by looking the blitzing side, as the blitzer often leaves an open gap for the receiver. For the most part, he was sharp in his decision making, had some zip on the throws, and had good accuracy.

Navigating through the pressure

Arguably the most important part of Carson’s two games was movement to create time. He made unbelievable plays despite receivers gaining little in the way of separation.

However, pressure was, unfortunately, a really big issue for the offensive line, and Wentz was not always able to navigate away from it, leading to multiple drives stalling because of missed opportunities. The first half against the Giants comes to mind:

Does Carson have a fumbling issue?

In the middle of games and especially after loses, the staggering number of fumbles by Wentz is frustrating. Against the Redskins, Wentz had three fumbles, however, looking back on the film, they are usually a product of immediate pressure or inability of guys to get open:

Could Wentz protect the ball better? Of course. The stats suggest he has a unique problem with ball handling. Although, it shouldn’t be forgotten that he plays on an offense with little explosive players, a ton of pressure, and expectations to deliver highlight-reel plays constantly.

Missed opportunities killed drives

While Wentz was playing at a very high level, he did of course, make mistakes. Everyone does. But when you stack the bad snaps, dropped balls, and the offensive line giving up pressure, there’s suddenly a good reason Eagles had to come from behind in both these games.

Wentz is still the only hope for a playoff run

Number 11 is the face of the franchise. He is the best player on the team. And on a team where regression, drops, injuries, and mental mistakes have been among the biggest headlines, he has a chance to win against the Cowboys and be in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot.

With the general level of play this season, the Eagles have no business winning football games. Carson made it possible for this team to even have a shot.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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