Wentz’s 3 TD passes power Philadelphia
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.
Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz celebrates with teammates after a fourth-quarter TD pass to Nelson Agholor.