Carson Wentz endured a truly traumatic start to the 2020 campaign. A season that was supposed to be filled with explosive plays, a ton of speed, and endless touchdowns, had instead been mired by turnovers, bad decisions, and a mechanically broken quarterback. Not all of those issues evaporated in last night’s statement-win, but they didn’t have to.
Things didn’t start off great, either. Wentz tossed a ball at the dirt early while pressured, only to see it plucked an inch from the ground by Aziz Al-Shaair. That pick marked the seventh of the season for Wentz, a season-tally that he’s yet to exceed in his NFL career, now reached within 4 games. But then a switch was flicked.
Doug Pederson had clearly learned from his mistakes from previous weeks. One of the first things we observed was Carson Wentz being bootlegged outside the pocket. While his accuracy and touch were still sporadic at best, what we saw was a quarterback begin to settle into a rhythm.
All the Eagles needed to do was keep the Niners offense on the sideline, drain the clock, and end every drive with points. It was never going to end that easily, but that beautiful third-quarter drive that saw the Birds move 62 yards up the field over a span of 16 plays, only to score a field goal, delivered what the Doctor ordered. Checkdowns, rushes, and Carson Wentz being Carson Wentz.
With 7 rushing attempts for 37 yards, Wentz again showed enough self-awareness to realize that when his arm isn’t working, his legs are perfectly fine. But all this game seemed to do was light the same fire under the franchise QB that we last saw in that huge win over Washington last year.
Diving for first downs, streaking in for a touchdown, taking on Donte Johnson in a block during a Jalen Hurts snap, and of course pulling off a play that only Wentz could, hitting Boston Scott in stride when under severe duress, the Eagles QB made a statement. He was back.
He followed it up by launching a bomb into the hands of Travis Fulgham just two plays later – one that would be the nail in the coffin for San Francisco.
It wasn’t like Carson Wentz was blessed with weaponry out there. The man of the moment, Travis Fulgham, signed with the team at the end of August, Greg Ward Jr. was a practice squad promotee from last season, and John Hightower a fifth-round rookie. That was the group burdened with the weight of taking on a Niners pass defense that ranked 2nd in opposing points per drive going into the matchup.
A little reckless? Sure. Mechanically sporadic? Definitely. Still a long way from being the elite QB we all know he can be? Absolutely. But what he was, was everything the team needed. Someone who drowns out all the noise, picks himself up after being knocked down, and charges forward again and again until he can’t any longer. Someone who regardless of if it’s DeSean Jackson or Jackson DeSeanson, will put faith in his receivers and never-say-die.
Carson Wentz wasn’t perfect last night, but he was Carson Wentz…and that was ultimately enough.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire