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Wentz shows signs he is clutch in Eagles' loss

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 10, 2018 - 5:30 am

The Eagles are not going to be repeating as Super Bowl champions. That goal is pretty much gone after their loss to the Dallas Cowboys. 

With that goal out the window, the next, most important thing for this team is Carson Wentz continuing to develop into the franchise quarterback they believe he can be. 

That goal took a step forward in Dallas. 

It wasn’t always pretty for Wentz, and the fact that he didn’t get his team the win certainly has an impact on how you view his performance. Wentz is part of the reason they didn’t win. He completed just six passes for 48 yards, and led the offense to exactly zero points, in the first half. The slow starts are a major issue with this team, and Wentz holds a share of the blame in that. 

What Wentz did in the fourth quarter, however, should not be overlooked. 

With the season on the line, facing a division rival on the road, Wentz was 10-of-14 for 128 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers and a passer rating of 139.3. Those numbers alone are impressive. How he got them was the real story. 

Trailing 16-9, Wentz led the Eagles on a four-play, 47-yard touchdown drive to tie the game up with just over three minutes to play in the game. The special teams set Wentz up with great field position, but Wentz finished the job, completing two straight passes for 38 yards, including a 26-yard strike to tight end Dallas Goedert. Wentz finished the drive off by standing in the pocket, surveying the field and finding Goedert once again for a three-yard touchdown to tie the game. 

Given the late-game demons that have haunted Wentz so far in his career, the drive was impressive. The next one was even better. 

After the Cowboys scored on the first play of their next drive, Wentz faced a seven-point deficit with just under three minute to play and 75 yards to go for the tie. Wentz’s first pass was a 75-yard touchdown to Goedert, but the play was called back due to a questionable pass interference call. Wentz didn’t allow the poor call or the situation to shake him. 

Wentz threw his best pass of the game on the drive, a 42-yard dime to receiver Nelson Agholor down the sideline to put the Eagles on the Cowboys’ two-yard line. Two plays later, Wentz finished off the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass. 

Two drives. Two times the season was on the line. Two touchdowns from Wentz. 

Wentz didn’t touch the ball again, so we don’t know how he would have performed in overtime. It would have been very interesting to see, but Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott made sure that didn’t happen. 

In the long run, what happened on Sunday for Wentz is important, and is a continuation of what he has been doing in the fourth quarter the last three games. Wentz led the Eagles to a touchdown vs. Washington last week that changed a one-point lead to an eight-point lead with five minutes to play. Against the Giants two weeks ago, Wentz turned a 19-14 deficit vs. the Giants into a 25-22 win with two final drives that resulted in 11 points. 

Overall, in the last three games, Wentz has taken the field for eight drives that started in the fourth quarter. One was to kill time to end the game. Six of the other seven drives have resulted in points. Add in two drives that started with just a few minutes to go in the third, but ended in the fourth, and Wentz has been playing his best football in the biggest moments over the last three weeks. 

That is no small matter, and the disappointment from Sunday’s loss shouldn’t overshadow the team’s franchise quarterback taking a significant step forward in his development. 

That won’t result in the playoffs this season, but going forward, the Eagles should feel very encouraged by Wentz stepping up big recently late in games.

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!