Carson Wentz is the Indianapolis Colts’ new quarterback, but the move can’t become official until March 17. In the meantime, CNHI Sports Indiana thought it might be beneficial to take a look back at Wentz’s recent past to see if there are any clues for his future. The fifth season of Amazon Prime’s “All or Nothing” series chronicled the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles. This eight-part series will recap those eight episodes with an eye on nuggets of interest to Indy.
EPISODE V: HOMECOMING
The downside of the Carson Wentz experience is on display in this episode.
If there’s a common denominator for the quarterback’s troubles during this series, it’s strip sacks. Wentz needs to do a better job of protecting the ball when he’s in the grasp. He too often makes a bad situation worse when a sack becomes a turnover and sets up the opponent in scoring position.
The Week 11 game against the New England Patriots is a frustrating experience for the Philadelphia Eagles. Coming off a bye week, the team is primed for a Super Bowl rematch, and the defense more than holds up its end of the bargain. But the offense stalls after a hot start.
The reasons for the struggles foreshadow some of the quarterback’s problems during a disastrous 2020 season. Speed receiver DeSean Jackson was lost the week before after a very brief appearance in a win against the Chicago Bears, and Wentz adjusts for awhile by re-emphasizing star tight end Zach Ertz.
Ertz has nine catches for 103 yards and a score during a 22-14 win against Chicago as the Eagles successfully mix a quick passing game with power running. It’s a formula certain to play out again this fall in Indianapolis, and Wentz makes it work. He finishes 26-of-39 for 239 yards and the score, and Philly improves to 5-4 before the bye.
The team gets bad news during the break when it’s revealed Jackson has a torn abdominal muscle and will miss the remainder of the regular season.
Wentz starts the Patriots game with a similar strategy, and the Eagles go ahead 10-0 when tight end Dallas Goedert is awarded a touchdown upon replay review. Then right tackle Lane Johnson goes to the locker room with a head injury, and the wheels begin to come off.
Wentz is indecisive and holds onto the ball too long. It’s the dark side of his ability to extend plays. When the quarterback has a plan for where he’s going with the ball and scrambles with the intention of hurting the defense with his arm or his legs, he can create magic. When he feels hurried and is uncertain of his next move, trouble comes quickly.
The strip sack is a result of the latter. Johnson’s replacement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, is beaten off the snap and the pass rusher arrives before Wentz has even set his drop. He’s not expecting the contact, and the ball comes free.
It sets New England up deep in Eagles’ territory trailing just 10-6.
“Bail me out,” cameras catch Wentz saying on the sideline. “Bail me out. Come on, D!”
The defense obliges, forcing a field goal that gives the team a one-point advantage heading into halftime. But the offensive stagnation continues into the second half, and the Patriots finally take the lead on a trick play that sees wide receiver Julian Edleman throw a touchdown pass.
The 2-point conversion makes it a 17-10 deficit with 4:07 remaining, and the episode ends with Wentz attempting to rally his teammates on the sideline. They’ll need to go 94 yards to tie the game when the next installment begins.