After a near comeback in the Eagles third preseason game, we examine another. This one occurred in Carson Wentz’s rookie season against those same Ravens.
Back in 2016, Carson Wentz wasn’t a superstar yet. He wasn’t a former MVP candidate who had to interrupt an incredible season to have knee surgery. He wasn’t a Super Bowl champion. He wasn’t incredibly efficient in the red zone. What he embodied was hope. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him second overall in 2016’s NFL Draft.
There was some talk that, even if they had the number-one overall pick, they still would have gone with Wentz over the guy that went first, Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams. They thought that much of him.
Wentz went from being a guy that was supposed to redshirt his first season to a guy that allowed the Eagles to move on from Sam Bradford. In his first season, he gave Eagles fans and coaches a glimpse of the future. He led his team to a 7-9 record. He’d even set the team record for completions.
In Week 15, he faced the same squad his Eagles met in Week 3 of 2019’s preseason, the Baltimore Ravens, and even though he’d throw an interception early, he rebounded with 170 yards passing, a touchdown through the air (to make up for that interception), and another touchdown he’d score with his legs.
Keep in mind the Ravens had a ten-point lead and were set up with first and ten at the Eagles’ eleven-yard line with a little over six minutes to go. Wentz’s second rushing touchdown of the year was the culmination of a furious Eagles comeback that included a Jordan Hicks interception that he returned close to midfield, a field goal, a Zach Ertz toe-tap reception down the sideline, and a little shake and bake by Wentz that narrowed the Ravens lead to 27-26.
In what’s now become typical Doug Pederson fashion, Philly would gamble. After converting a two-point conversion earlier in the second quarter, they’d attempt another with the game on the line and four seconds remaining. Wentz’s final attempt of the day would be batted down. Some, to this day, say there was pass interference committed against Jordan Matthews.
There was no flag. The Eagles lost, but they had found their quarterback of the future. The rest, as they say, is history that’s still being written.
Ladies and gentlemen, Carson Wentz enters the fourth season of his NFL career with, quite possibly, the best offensive unit he’s ever had. There are playmakers everywhere. They have a great defense backing them up, and they have that same coach who believes in them enough to gamble as he believed in them on that day.
This could be a special year, led by a special quarterback, so when everyone tells you Wentz can’t stay healthy, remind them of 2016, when he started every game. Then, tell them the story about that game at M&T Bank Stadium, and ask them to name another young NFL quarterback who’s better. Don’t be surprised if they can’t come up with one.