Car­son Wentz throws 3 TDs, Ea­gles beat Pan­thers

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Quick Hits - By Steve Reed

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. — Car­son Wentz con­tin­ues to show poise beyond his years in his sec­ond NFL sea­son.

Wentz threw for 222 yards and three touch­downs against one of the NFL’s top de­fenses, and the Philadel­phia Ea­gles beat the Carolina Pan­thers 28-23 on Thurs­day night to im­prove to an NFCbest 5-1.

The Ea­gles turned two in­ter­cep­tions deep in Carolina ter­ri­tory into 15 points. Wentz teamed with Zach Ertz on two touch­down passes, and LaGar­rette Blount scored on a 2-point con­ver­sion run for an 18-10 lead in the third quar­ter. Wentz added a 24-yard scor­ing pass to Nel­son Agholor in the fourth quar­ter.

“He’s a great leader of this foot­ball team, even in his sec­ond year,” Ea­gles coach Doug Ped­er­son said. “Guys re­ally re­spect the way he plays. It’s ex­cit­ing to see that.”

Cam New­ton threw three in­ter­cep­tions for Carolina (4-2).

The first two in­ter­cep­tions came in­side Carolina’s 20, but weren’t New­ton’s fault. He was hit by Fletcher Cox as he re­leased one pass, and run­ning back Jonathan Stewart bob­bled an­other pass re­sult­ing in a pick. New­ton’s third in­ter­cep­tion — by Jalen Mills with 3:06 left — ended a chance for the go-ahead score.

Carolina had one last shot to win, but turned it over on downs at mid­field.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing be­cause we had the op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Pan­thers coach Ron Rivera said. “We can’t kick field goals and beat good teams. We can’t turn the ball over and not take it away.”

Pan­thers mid­dle line­backer Luke Kuechly was placed into the con­cus­sion pro­to­col af­ter his body crum­pled fol­low­ing a col­li­sion with Ea­gles pulling guard Bran­don Brooks. Kuechly missed nine games over the past two sea­sons with two con­cus­sions. All of the Ea­gles’ touch­downs came af­ter Kuechly left the game late in the sec­ond quar­ter.

Pan­thers cor­ner­back Cap­tain Mun­ner­lyn said it won’t be easy to re­place Keuchly, adding “Luke is a big part of what we do.”

Added de­fen­sive tackle Kawann Short: “You saw a quick prayer, but then the game has to go on.”

New­ton gave the Pan­thers a 10-3 lead on his 51st ca­reer touch­down rush­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter. He kept the ball on a read op­tion and juked cor­ner­back Ra­sul Dou­glas on the 16-yard run.

Dou­glas get re­venge on Carolina’s next pos­ses­sion, in­ter­cept­ing New­ton’s pass af­ter Cox crashed into New­ton as he was throw­ing, caus­ing the ball to float high into the air.

Ea­gles Cox re­turns: Af­ter a twogame ab­sence due to a calf in­jury, Fletcher Cox re­turned and was a dom­i­nant force for the Ea­gles. Along with the tipped pass on New­ton’s in­ter­cep­tion, he also had a sack and two quar­ter­back hur­ries. “There’s no way I could sit him tonight,” Ped­er­son said. “It was too im­por­tant to him.”

No run­ning game: If it hadn’t been for New­ton , the Pan­thers would not have had any run­ning game to speak of against the Ea­gles. New­ton ran for 71 yards and the touch­down, but run­ning backs Jonathan Stewart, Chris­tian McCaf­frey and Fozzy Whittaker were lim­ited to 1 yard on 13 car­ries.

“We have a lot of things to look at. We re­ally do,” Rivera said of the run­ning game.

Blount pounds away: The bruis­ing Blount didn’t find the end zone for a touch­down, although he did score on a 2-point con­ver­sion af­ter the Pan­thers de­fen­sive tackle Star Lo­tulelei jumped early on an ex­tra point at­tempt. That prompted coach Doug Ped­er­son to go for two. Blount fin­ished with 67 yards on 14 car­ries.

Pep­pers’ mile­stone: Julius Pep­pers needed one sack to be­come the fifth player to reach 150 since they be­came an of­fi­cial statis­tic in 1982. The 37-yearold Pep­pers didn’t waste any time reach­ing it, sack­ing Wentz on the first drive of the game and forc­ing a fum­ble.

Lineup change: Pan­thers cor­ner­back Daryl Wor­ley was benched in the first half for Kevin Sey­mour.

YONG KIM/TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Philadel­phia Ea­gles cor­ner­back Jalen Mills, right, and strong safety Malcolm Jenk­ins stop Carolina Pan­thers tight end Ed Dick­son (84) in Char­lotte, N.C., on Thurs­day.

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