Wentz throws 3 TDs, Ea­gles beat Pan­thers

Yuma Sun - - SUN SPORTS -

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. — Car­son Wentz said he saw some things from the Carolina Pan­thers he hadn’t seen on film lead­ing to three firsthalf sacks and plenty of pres­sure.

It didn’t bother the Philadel­phia Ea­gles’ sec­ond-year quar­ter­back.

Wentz came up big in a huge game, throw­ing for 222 yards and three touch­downs against one of the NFL’s top de­fenses, and the Ea­gles beat the Pan­thers 28-23 on Thurs­day night to im­prove to an NFC-best 5-1.

“We kept backs in to han­dle their lineback­ers and we did a bet­ter job clean­ing it up in the sec­ond half,” said Wentz, who wasn’t sacked in the sec­ond half.

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 24yard 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 about Wentz. “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.

“We gave them layups, giv­ing them the ball in­side our 20,” New­ton said. “Against a good team like that, well that’s not good in­gre­di­ents to win. We can’t put our de­fense in that type of po­si­tion.”

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 two-game ab­sence due to a calf in­jury, Ea­gles de­fen­sive tackle Fletcher Cox re­turned and was a dom­i­nant force. 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,” Pan­thers coach Ron 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.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

PHILADEL­PHIA EA­GLES’ CAR­SON WENTZ (11) looks to pass against the Carolina Pan­thers in the sec­ond half of Thurs­day’s game in Char­lotte, N.C.

Ea­gles 28 Pan­thers 23

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