Wentz’s 3 TD passes power Philadel­phia

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTS - By Steve Reed Steve Reed is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

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 NFC-best 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,” Philadel­phia head 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 lost the ball on downs at mid­field.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing be­cause we had the op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Carolina head 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.”

Carolina mid­dle line­backer Luke Kuechly was placed into the con­cus­sion pro­to­col af­ter his body crum­pled fol­low­ing a col­li­sion with Philadel­phia 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.

Carolina 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 rush­ing touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter. He kept the ball on a read op­tion and juked cor­ner­back Ra­sul Dou­glas on the 16-yard run.

Dou­glas got pay­back 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.

Streeter Lecka / Getty Im­ages

Philadel­phia quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter a fourth-quar­ter TD pass to Nel­son Agholor.

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