Receivers' Drops Kept Wentz From Having Another Standout Statistical Game

CHICAGO — It might have been Carson Wentz’s finest pass yet, a breathtaking spiral from 35 yards out that led Jordan Matthews perfectly into the near left corner end zone.

The ball appeared to float magically right into Matthews’ waiting arms, and then it sailed through them, falling to the ground and bouncing away.

One of those plays where the more you watch the replay, the more you just don’t believe he didn’t catch it.

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“Great pass by Carson,” Matthews said at his locker. “It’s one that we work on and it’s a play I have to go make. But the thing for me is that I’d much rather learn from a mistake with a win rather than a loss.”

Drops were a problem for Matthews last year and he’s already got three in two games this year, although the one Monday night in Chicago was the first one that was really damaging.

The Eagles trailed 7-6 with 19 seconds left in the first half and had a 2nd-and-10 on the Bears’ 35-yard line when Matthews was unable to make the play.

The Eagles settled for a field goal, and although they eventually won 29-14 to get to 2-0, it was the kind of play that against a better team could come back to haunt them.

Nelson Agholor also had a drop on a deep ball down the right sideline early in the third quarter. And although his wasn’t as egregious — it was an underthrown ball and Bears corner Jacoby Glenn probably interfered with him — it’s a ball a great receiver catches.

“Dropping the football is going to happen,” Agholor said. “The quarterback is going to give you opportunities. You've got to learn from it.

“The cause of drops could be mental. It could be a strength thing. You've got to squeeze it. At the end of the day, you learn from it and hopefully you don't repeat those mistakes."

Wentz still finished 21 for 34 for 190 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. But if the Eagles connect on the two drops, his numbers would have been close to last week’s stats against the Browns.

“I didn’t really see the highlight of it or anything, but if there were plays like that out here, I've got all the confidence in the world in those guys,” Wentz said.

“They’re hard on themselves, too. They’re just like me. We’re all hard on ourselves. It’s really all about just being positive and going forward with the next play.”

Matthews is off to a fine start statistically. He’s 12th in the NFL with 185 receiving yards and seventh with 13 catches.

But he knows that to be considered more than just another wide receiver, he has to make that play.

“I guess for me, it’s like, I can go out there and make all the plays and be a good receiver now,” he said. “But making those plays, that’s what pushes you into an elite category, that’s where people understand, this guy is a great receiver.

“I’m harder on myself than anybody else is so I want to make those plays. But at the same time, much rather learn it from a win than it costs us a game and we lose.”

Agholor, last year’s first-round pick, has made a few more plays so far this year than last year. He’s got eight catches for 99 yards in two games after registering just 105 yards in his first five games last year.

Small steps.

“It’s just always positive,” Wentz said. “You know, you’re never going to say anything negative because you know we’re all our own worst critics. We all want to be great so there’s really not a big emphasis you need to put on it. It’s all about going forward and they know that I have confidence in them, and I do.

“It’s going to come right back to them so they have to be ready for the next play.”

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