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Don't Blame Carson Wentz for That Loss to the Lions

When his teammates make a mistake - like a drop or a fumble - Carson Wentz seeks them out to say he's coming right back to them. It's his way of building them up through positivity. 

That must have kept him pretty busy Sunday. 

Because there were a lot - a lot, a lot - of mistakes in the Eagles' 27-24 loss to the Lions (see observations)

Depending on how harshly you grade, his teammates dropped six or seven passes, including some game-changing ones. His teammates fumbled the ball three times and lost two. His teammates committed three offensive pass interference penalties. His teammates gave up a 100-yard kick return touchdown. 

Could Wentz have played better on Sunday afternoon? 

Absolutely. 

But he absolutely played well enough for the Eagles to win the game. Despite all those mistakes, Wentz still completed 19 of 36 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 94.6. Blaming him for that loss would be silly. 

Wentz wasn't in the mood to pass out blame either. 

"It's part of the game," he said. "Guys are going to drop passes. We're going to put the ball on the ground. I'm going to throw picks. We're going to miss reads. Things happen. Guys make mistakes. … Again, it's frustrating. No one wants to make mistakes but there's nothing you can really do about it. Just have to keep building those guys up."

The thing that bothered Wentz the most after the game was the inability for the offense to score on two late drives with the game on the line in the fourth (see story). You can certainly argue that Wentz needs to be better in those situations, but if JJ Arcega-Whitside catches that deep ball on fourth down, we're probably talking about a 2-1 team right now with a much different outlook for this season (see story)

Heck, if Nelson Agholor catches that ball down the sideline last week in Atlanta, we might be talking about a 3-0 team. And we'd also be talking about Wentz as a hero for two late-game comebacks. Wentz hasn't been perfect, but he's giving his teammates chances to make plays and they're simply not making them. 

What else is the guy supposed to do? 

This probably sounds like I'm being a Wentz apologist, but I just don't know how anyone can watch that game and pin the loss on him. He's not playing like Superman, but he's playing well. 

In fact, Wentz now has a higher passer rating through the first three games of this season than he did through the first three games of the Super Bowl season in 2017. 

2017: 90.3 
2019: 91.2 

Without Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and a healthy Dallas Goedert, the Eagles were limited at their skill positions and it showed. There were plenty of times Wentz had time to throw the football and no one was open. And Detroit did a good job of taking away Zach Ertz for much of the afternoon.  

On top of that, the Eagles needed to use three different players at left tackle. Jason Peters was sick, Andre Dillard hurt his knee, so Halapoulivaati Vaitai filled in until Peters could return. 

Despite all those injuries and all those mistakes, Wentz still had his team in position to pull out a win. It wasn't his best performance, but all things considered, Wentz did his job. 

"I thought he played well," Doug Pederson said. "We did some things this game to give him some opportunities to make some calls at the line of scrimmage based on what they presented. He managed that extremely well. Played well, played tough. Made some great throws. Thought he played well."

It just didn't matter. 

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