Washington quarterback Carson Wentz spent about an equal amount of time on the turf as he was upright in Sunday’s first half against the Eagles.
OK, we exaggerate. But not by much.
The Eagles violently sacked Wentz four times in the first quarter, six times in the first half, in their 24-8 victory at FedEx Field. Wentz was running for his life on half of the pass plays.
Wentz fumbled twice — once he was stripped on a hit by Brandon Graham, for those who enjoy such memories — and the Eagles recovered one of them. They converted the fumble into a touchdown on a Jalen Hurts 23-yard pass to Dallas Goedert, giving the Eagles a 10-0 lead.
- “Just knowing Carson, we just had to make sure with any quarterback, that you get pressure on him when you can and make sure that you keep him contained in the pocket,” Graham said. “When he gets outside the pocket, he’s a great quarterback.
- “Fletch [Fletcher Cox], Sweaty [Josh Sweat], Javon [Hargrave] — we all was out there trying to get after him. It just kinda opened up for us as the game kept going.
- “In the first half, we was hitting him. That’s the number one thing as a d-line, you want to hit him. We were getting sacks, too, but them hits add up.”
This was the first time the Eagles had four sacks in a first quarter since 1991. Thirty-one years is a long time, but this was a special occasion.
- “They played their tails off. They were awesome,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said about the defensive line.
- “We thought that they they could get after him [Wentz] a little bit and they did.
- “That’s the strength of our team and that’s what you want in a division game, you want the strength of the team to go out there and play like way they did right there.
- “It was a full team effort. Full defensive line. It wasn’t one guy, it was all the guys and got after it and it was fun to watch.”
NINE SACKS FOR EAGLES
The Eagles (3-0) finished with an astounding nine sacks on Wentz.
Eagles recording sacks were: Graham (2.5 sacks), Haason Reddick (1.5), Sweat (1.5), Cox (1.5), Hargrave (1) and T.J. Edwards (1).
Fox Sports reported at halftime that Washington coach Ron Rivera said his team needed a better running attack and/or for Wentz to get the ball out of his hand more quickly.
“It’s the same old song (as sung by the Four Tops) … But with a different meaning since you been gone.”
TERRIBLE FIRST HALF FOR WENTZ
Wentz’ stats in the first half were embarrassing. He completed 3-of-10 passes. If you bat .300 in baseball you’re a Hall of Famer. If you’re a starting NFL quarterback completing 30 percent of your passes, you’re probably not going to be an NFL starter for long.
Wentz’ three completions went for 24 yards — and remember, Washington has excellent receivers in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson.
Wentz had minus-16 passing yards in the first half. He played so poorly, you kinda wondered if he would come out of the locker room at halftime.
OK, we exaggerate. But not by much.
WENTZ’ SECOND HALF
Wentz did return, of course. It didn’t matter.
In the Commanders’ first series of the second half — with Washington losing, 24-0, and needing to make a statement if it wanted back in the game — Wentz competed a four-yard pass to Samuel on a third-and-seven.
In the second half, Wentz moved the ball. He finished with 25-of-43 passes for 211 mostly meaningless yards.
And one touchdown.
- “Anytime there’s a number like that [nine sacks], that is not the o-line,” Wentz said.
- “I got to be better. I got to get rid of the ball in a lot of those situations and find a checkdown and move on.
- “Hats off to their d-line and front … But I got to be better and help our guys out.”
SLOW START FOR HURTS
While Eagles fans were giddy about Wentz getting knocked around, they might have noticed Hurts was struggling — for the first time this season.
Hurts started the game 1-of-6 for five yards. The Eagles had two first downs and, in general, looked like the NFL’s 32nd-ranked offense, not one of the best ones.
Then, Hurts became the elite quarterback he has become this season. Sirianni praised the defense for holding down Washington until the Eagles’ offense kicked in.
Hurts completed 21 of his next 29 passes and threw touchdown passes to DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert — in the second quarter.
On a fourth down, Hurts hit Smith for a two-yard touchdown. Smith set career-highs with eight receptions and 169 yards.
A troubling trend continued for the Eagles as they showed little offense in the second half. They didn’t move the ball in the second half against the Vikings.
Hurts finished 22-of-35 for 340 yards and three touchdowns and again looked elite, despite the slow start.
But this game was about Wentz and the Eagles did to him.
“Before the game, we had a little fun,” Graham said about Wentz. “I told him I hope he has a great year, just not today.”