Wentz’s Third-Down Efficiency Continues to be Key for Eagles Offense
The Eagles defense was down-right dominating on Sunday against the Bears, giving up just six yards rushing, their fewest rushing yards allowed in a single game since 1950. The 140 yards allowed is their fewest allowed in a single game since 12/1/96 vs. N.Y. Giants (121 yards).
"It was a great performance again," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said after the Eagles 31-3 win over the Bears.
"It starts up front with the defensive line. Just a swarm-attack style on defense, and every week you try to make a team sort of one-dimensional. The defense had their hands full because the Bears do have -- they are going to run it and they are going to continue to run it. Guys did an outstanding job today."
But it's Carson Wentz, who might be best offensive player in the league to date, who made the most important play for Philly’s offense in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.
"This is just Carson being Carson,” Pederson said.
Wentz made another third down throw, ripping a 14-yard thrown to Alshon Jeffery on third-and-eight, setting up his 17-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz.
"We’re just playing confident in those downs, too," Wentz said about the team’s third-down efficiency, where they converted on 43% in the game.
"Teams are throwing all sorts of stuff at us, but the offensive line is protecting us and we’re running the ball effectively on third-and-short. We had reps all offseason and something we really focused on in training camp was third down and red zone. It’s good to see it come into fruition out there on Sundays.”
"Well, earlier in the season, we sort of struggled, especially in what we call the ‘big red zone area’ and I challenged our guys offensively," Pederson explained.
"We had to make a conscious effort that if we are going to get the ball down into that area, which for us is really inside the 30, we've got to execute better. We've got to run the ball better. We've got to take care of the football better down there. And they really have since that point, it was about after week, maybe three or four, somewhere in there, they have really embraced that."
"And again, it comes down to their preparation and the way they practice on Fridays when we do our red zone. Just they don't want to be denied."
Wentz completed 23-of-36 attempts for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' blowout win over the Bears Week 12. He made plays with his feet, scrambling multiple times out of the pocket, running for first downs and leading the Eagles again to an easy victory.
If Wentz is not the leading candidate to be named the Most Valuable Player, he should be considering he’s got a shot at leading in touchdown passes and breaking the Eagles franchise record.
Just ask his coach what kind of season Wentz is having.
“The things that we saw in him looking at him before the draft or the things that we're starting to see now, he's such a competitor, and his will, his determination to make things right and the way he can elevate the play around him, meaning the guys around him, has just been incredible. He's taking care of the football. He's not turning the ball over and that's a positive to the success of the team obviously.”