Carson Wentz, Eagles' Offense Sputters With Game on the Line

ARLINGTON, Texas – As the clocked ticked closer to midnight central time, and the calendar flipped from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31, Carson Wentz had a chance to be a super hero for Halloween.

On Sunday night, the cape didn’t fit. 
With the score knotted in the fourth quarter, Wentz and the Eagles got the ball back twice – with all their timeouts – in the final few minutes of regulation against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. But instead of driving down the field and scoring, the offense sputtered, and the Eagles eventually lost 29-23 in overtime.
“They just made more plays than us,” Wentz said about the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. “It’s plain and simple. Those are the kind that I’ll kind of kick myself over, and like I said, I’ll have to go back and watch the tape. We had two chances. We had two chances to go in the ball game in regulation, and we didn’t get it done.”

First, the Eagles’ offense got the ball back with 3:04 left in the fourth at their own 25-yard line with three timeouts remaining. The drive went for six yards and they punted away.

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After a big three-and-out stop from the Eagles’ defense, Wentz got the ball back yet again.

This time, the Eagles got the ball at their own 20-yard line with 1:13 left, with the three timeouts still in hand. The Eagles went the wrong way and eventually punted from their own 9-yard line.

Two drives. Two three-and-outs. Negative five yards.

“Anytime you lose in a game like this in overtime, it’s frustrating,” Wentz said. “To be in control in the fourth quarter, it’s tough. We just didn’t execute down the stretch. They made more plays than us, and it’s frustrating, but we’ll learn from it.”

For much of Sunday’s matchup against the Cowboys, the Eagles wore the costume of the NFC East division leader. But as they blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, and the mask was ripped away, revealing a team that didn’t seem ready to win a game like this. 

Wentz’s numbers for the game were pretty pedestrian. He completed 32 of 43 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. But his longest completion of the day was 14 yards and his average completion went for just 6.3 yards.

In fact, the longest passing attempt of the day came from receiver Josh Huff on a trick play – unfortunately for the Eagles, the trick didn’t provide a treat, as the ball dropped incomplete.

“We had opportunities down the field,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “I felt, too, that we could take advantage of the underneath stuff and just utilize our back and tight ends a little bit more in this football game. We had a couple of opportunities before half and obviously at the end of the game to go down the field but, at the same time, felt that our tight ends and some of the short, intermediate stuff was the way to go.”

Wentz said the lack of vertical attempts was “kind of the nature of the game.” While there were some play calls that allowed for the rookie to take shots downfield, he checked down because of what the defense gave them.

“I’ll have to go back and watch the tape, but like I said we had some place called where we could take some shots,” Wentz said. “It’s just when the defense gets soft, you have to check it down underneath, but as I said, I’ll have to go back and watch the tape.”

Wentz missed a few throws on Sunday night, but his receivers hurt him at times too. The Eagles dropped about five or six passes against the Cowboys. Wentz said some of them were tough, contested plays and some of the throws from him weren’t good enough. 

In all, the Eagles’ offense put up just 291 yards of total offense against the Cowboys. For the third straight week, the Eagles failed to put up 300 yards of total offense. This is the first time since 2003 the Eagles have had less than 300 yards of offense in three consecutive games. 

Still, despite all their offensive shortcomings, Wentz and his unit had two golden chances to win the game in regulation but couldn’t do it.

“Moving forward, we are just a resilient team,” Wentz said. “It’s one of those things where we’ve got to learn from it. We’ve got a lot of young guys, and it’s tough. As I mentioned, it’s tough to lose in a game like that in overtime, but we were in control and we’re going to learn from it, and we’re going to be better.”

Maybe next time the cape will fit. 

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