The spirit of Carson Wentz continues to live on… or at least it will until 2022.
Ever since Philadelphia traded their franchise quarterback to the Indianapolis Colts, eyes have traveled with him. Curiosity not only lies in how he’ll perform in a new environment but also if he’ll do enough to earn the Eagles an additional first-round pick in next year’s draft.
It’s also fair for fans to wonder if the team made the right decision to move on from Wentz.
Two short weeks ago, Philadelphia’s head coach Nick Sirianni named second-year Jalen Hurts the starting quarterback. Though this seemed like a no-brainer, Hurts’ motivation and dedication to the position gave him the upper hand to lead the Eagles into Week 1.
The thought on everyone’s mind now is, how do the two quarterbacks stack up against one another? Did Wentz’s collapse allow for a rebirth in the city of Philadelphia?
- 27 completions on 35 attempts, 77.1% completion
- 264 passing yards, averaging 7.5 yards
- 62 rushing yards
- Three touchdowns
- Zero interceptions
- One sack
- 126.4 passer rating, 72.9 quarterback rating
- 25 completions on 38 attempts, 65.8% completion
- 251 passing yards, averaging 6.6 yards
- 23 rushing yards
- Two touchdowns
- Zero interceptions
- Three sacks
- 102.0 passer rating, 26.3 quarterback rating
With the exception of sacks and ratings, both Jalen Hurts and Carson Wentz had comparable numbers with two completely different outcomes.
Hurts started and ended the game confidently. He was consistent, methodical in his play design and displayed improved accuracy from last season. He had a great connection with head coach Nick Sirianni, and his focus was undeniable.
Hurts’ biggest strength was his ability to spread the ball around. He didn’t rely on any one player (or position for that matter) to connect with, completing targets to Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins. And when no one was available, he kept the ball alive on his own, running for 62 yards on seven carries.
Hurts’ 126.4 passer rating was the highest by an Eagles quarterback (Nick Foles) since 2018. Pro Football Focus also graded him the second-best quarterback in Week 1, behind Tom Brady.
The highest-graded QBs in Week 1 so far 👀
🎯 Tom Brady
🎯 Jalen Hurts
🎯 Jameis Winston pic.twitter.com/2Ie9zEHq7q
— PFF (@PFF) September 13, 2021
Wentz started exceptionally well, connecting on nine of his first ten passing attempts. Before halftime, he completed a touchdown pass, closing in on the Seattle Seahawks. But the glory was short-lived.
Other than Zach Pascal, Wentz failed connect with his wide receivers, relying heavily on running backs. Despite the lack of protection from the Colts’ offensive line, Wentz’s sluggish reaction time in Philadelphia also carried over into Indy. Seattle’s defense achieved three sacks and ten quarterback hits.
Week 1 finished with a 32-6 win for the Philadelphia Eagles (over the Atlanta Falcons) and a 16-28 loss for the Indianapolis Colts (by the Seattle Seahawks). The real winner in the Hurts vs. Wentz debate goes to second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Though neither quarterback had a perfect debut, Hurts was poised and showed he’s capable of highlighting each of his teammates’ strengths.
As Week 2 approaches, Hurts should look to improve his accuracy, as Wentz works on his speed to get the ball out.
The Eagles will welcome the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, September 19, to Lincoln Financial Field, and the Colts will play their second home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams play at 1 pm.