In Career Day, Carson Wentz's 3rd-down Mastery Continues in Eagles' Win Over Cardinals - NBC 10 Philadelphia

In Career Day, Carson Wentz's 3rd-down Mastery Continues in Eagles' Win Over Cardinals

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    In Career Day, Carson Wentz's 3rd-down Mastery Continues in Eagles' Win Over Cardinals
    CSNPhilly.com
    In career day, Carson Wentz's 3rd-down mastery continues in Eagles' win over Cardinals

    Here's all you need to know about how far Carson Wentz has come:
     
    He had three touchdown passes all last year on third down. And he had three Sunday against the Cards.
     
    Wentz continued his 2017 third-down mastery Sunday in the Eagles' blowout win over the Cards, going 11 for 12 on third down with nine conversions and throwing for 255 yards and three TD passes.
     
    Just on third down.
     
    In all, it was a career day for Wentz, who completed 70 percent of his passes and threw for 303 yards with four touchdowns in the Eagles' 34-7 win over the Cardinals at the Linc (see breakdown).

    "Situational football is huge, that's what separates the good teams," Wentz said. "Being effective on third down, staying on the field, it helps time of possession, it helps the defense, it's a big part of the game. They call it the money down, and to be that efficient on third down is huge."

    Among his Eagles' third-down conversions were two 3rd-and-11s and a 3rd-and-19.
     
    Wentz threw an 11-yard TD to Zach Ertz on a 3rd-and-6 in the first quarter, a 59-yard TD to Torrey Smith on a 3rd-and-5 in the first quarter, a 72-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor on a 3rd-and-19 in the third quarter (see Roob's 10 observations).
     
    He's the first Eagles QB to throw three TDs on third down in nine years, since Donovan McNabb - who spent some time with Wentz in the locker room after the game - threw TDs to Jason Avant, Brian Westbrook and DeSean Jackson, also against the Cards, at the Linc on Thanksgiving Day 2008.
     
    "It's just guys playing on time, playing in rhythm, and it's something we take pride in," Wentz said. "We put so much extra time into it both in practice and then in the film and meeting rooms as well. I think we're seeing it paying dividends on Sundays."
     
    Wentz vowed to get better on third down.

    And five games into the season, he's the best in the league.

    "This is one of the things that we talk about all spring and summer with him, was the third downs and emphasizing the third downs," Doug Pederson said. "I think the personnel that we have on offense helps that. I think the offensive line protection in some of those areas helps that.
     
    "Then, listen, it's a credit to the guys down the field. There were some big plays made today that we expect. We don't want to be in those 3rd-and-long situations, but we do expect to execute that way and hopefully stay on the field."
     
    Ertz caught four of Wentz's third-down throws and Agholor caught three, but five different receivers caught at least one, including Marcus Johnson, who converted a 3rd-and-1 with his first career reception.
     
    When you're converting clutch third downs with an undrafted free agent who spent last year on the practice squad and had played 23 career snaps on offense before Sunday, you know you have something good going (see rookie report).
     
    "Carson's playing at an extremely high level on that (third) down," Ertz said. "He understands the blitzes, he understands where to attack with the ball. We've been really efficient in that regard, and we're real happy with it.
     
    "We're understanding where the chains are, we're understanding the down and distances, our O-line is playing great, so we're able to have deeper routes on those plays instead of just check-downs. So we're attacking the defense on those downs and we're not taking them as a disadvantage for us."
     
    Let's compare Wentz on third down last year with this year.
     
    You won't believe the difference.
     
    Last year, he completed 56 percent of his passes on third down with 60 conversions, three touchdowns, five interceptions and a 67.0 passer rating that ranked him 28th of 30 qualifying quarterbacks.
     
    This year? Including Sunday, he's hitting on 71 percent of his passes on third down with six TDs, one interception, 30 conversions and a 137.8 passer rating.
     
    He will likely be the top-ranked third-down passer in the NFL on Monday morning.
     
    Overall, Wentz is now hitting on 62 percent of his passes and throwing for 272 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His passer rating is up to 97.7 (see report card).
     
    "He played amazing today," Ertz said. "Obviously, there's plays everyone wants back, but four touchdowns to four different guys is a huge stepping stone.
     
    "He's the face of the franchise. As he goes, we go. And the most impressive part is that he's so even keel through the highs and the lows.
     
    "We love playing for him. Our offense played at an extremely high level - against a team that's had our number the past couple years and has a really good defense."
     
    What about Wentz's only incomplete pass on third down?
     
    It came on a 3rd-and-5 early in the third quarter. He had Ertz open but just missed him.
     
    "He said he wanted to find a hole and go bury himself in it," Ertz said with a laugh. "But it happens to everybody. Nobody's perfect. I had a drop against the Giants, so we're even now."