A short week, a game on the road, and a fight until the end were all challenges the Philadelphia Eagles were able to overcome Thursday night to pull out a 28-23 win over the Carolina Panthers. The hard-fought victory puts the Eagles at 5-1 on the season.
“It feels good and honestly it says a lot about the guys in this locker room,” quarterback Carson Wentz said. “We stayed together the whole game. They did some good things defensively, some different pressure looks that we hadn’t seen. That’s tough on a short week but we found a way to win a close ballgame and that’s ultimately what we struggled with last year – was winning on the road and winning close ballgames and we’ve done that successfully in these first six games.”
Wentz helped lead the team to victory with 222 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-30 passing. The first touchdown came on a rub route by tight end Zach Ertz to the back of the end zone late in the second quarter as the Eagles were down 10-3. Wentz was able to hold onto the ball and barrel into Carolina’s defense showing his toughness just before the 1-yard pass to Ertz tied up the game as they went into the half.
“That’s always huge. Obviously, after a turnover from the defense, there’s some momentum going on. That first one (touchdown) we were kind of just trying to find a way. We had the fourth-down conversion and then the touchdown to Ertz there that was a big play,” Wentz said. “And then the other one, again, take advantage of the short field. That’s something we’ve really focused on is red zone and finding ways to convert touchdowns, not field goals, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”
An interception from cornerback Patrick Robinson gave the Eagles the ball back early in the third quarter. Two plays later, the dynamic duo of Wentz and Ertz were able to find the end zone yet again for their second touchdown of the night and fourth on the season.
The 17-yard touchdown pass and a successful two-point conversion attempt from running back LeGarrette Blount gave the Eagles an 18-10 lead over the Panthers.
Wentz touched on his chemistry with Ertz and how it has made a difference offensively, specifically when it comes to finding the end zone.
“We just have a relationship that we’ve just built that chemistry. I’ve known what he’s going to do. I can read his body language pretty well and that’s just honestly been the difference,” Wentz said. “We have him and other guys to spread the ball around. The first one Alshon (Jeffery) kind of took double coverage over there, they had two guys over there. A guy like Alshon taking that creates some other openings and that’s what we did.”
Wentz and the offense were tested by a strong showing from the Panthers’ defense.
“They did some different things that we hadn’t seen yet. On a short week, that’s tough so hats off to them. They did some good things,” Wentz said. “They kept our back in having to put our back on linebackers and did some different things. I think we did a better job in the second half, kind of got those things cleaned up. But hats off to them, that’s a good defense.”
Another win on the road is huge for Wentz and the Eagles, especially when comparing where they are now to where they were at this time last year. Wentz believes they are a different team all around and that is what is bringing them such success.
“Having a year together with this team, under (Coach Doug Pederson), myself, and everything, we’re just built differently. We have different character makeup in that locker room,” Wentz said. “We just have a bunch of guys that believe that no matter the situation we can find a way to win a ballgame.”