Monday, October 9, 2017

Third down magic

The NFL is all about third down.

And Carson Wentz is all about third down.

All the Eagles second-year quarterback did Sunday was go 11 for 12 on third down as the Eagles scorched the Cardinals. Wentz is dialed in. So is his head coach, Doug Pederson.

Wentz threw four touchdown passes Sunday as the Eagles raced out to an early lead over the Cardinals and never looked back. Final score: Eagles 34, Cardinals 7.

And it wasn't that close.

Wentz doesn't look like a second-year NFL QB. This isn't what young signal callers are supposed to be doing. Especially not on third down. But it's pretty clear Wentz is not just any second-year QB.

He has a varied skill set that allows him to adjust on the fly, and when all else fails, he has the physical ability to make something out of nothing.

Yesterday, in the battle of Carsons, Carson Wentz was stellar, while Carson Palmer looked very much like the beleaguered leader of a team that is coming apart at the seams.

Part of that is the frustration of Wentz's third-down magic. There is nothing more deflating to a defense than to surrender a first down on third down, thus preventing them from getting off the field.

Went tossed TD passes on three consecutive possessions in the first quarter to basically decide this contest.

It was the kind of "step on the throat" performance when you get a team down that the Eagles too often have failed to do in the past, instead letting teams crawl back into the game.

Overall the Eagles were went 9 for 14 on third down. Wentz went 11 for 12 for 225 yards and three TDs on third down. Wentz already has six TDs on third downs in five games.

This team has risen to the occasion each week, overcoming whatever obstacles lie in their path.

Injuries? They've had their share. The loss of Darren Sproles has not stopped the offense. Playing their second week without All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has not stopped the flow on defense.

Yesterday they lost right tackle Lane Johnson to a head injury. Ironically, it was Johnson's suspension last year after the Eagles sprinted to a 3-0 record that seemed to pull the plug on the season. Yesterday, they simply buckled their chin straps and soldiered on. Now they may face their biggest challenge.

They are looking at a short week before going on the road to face Cam Newton and a very good Carolina Panthers team. They also are 4-1. Don't be against the Eagles. And Carson Wentz.

Especially on third down.

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