The first quarter was much to do about nothing ending with a score of 3-3. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz of the Eagles had to think he was in a boxing ring being sacked three times. He kept getting up off the canvas returning for more. Cam Newton scored the first touchdown on a 16-yard keeper. He gave the defender the one-foot shake and darted into the end zone before beckoned for the
Fletcher Cox stepped into the phone booth and came out as Superman and Bull Rushed the OL driving him completely back into Cam Newton causing him to throw an interception. Philly had possession at the 12-yard line. The Carolina Defense stood tall forcing them to go 7 plays from 12 yards out to score. The most impressive play on the drive came from second-year QB Carson Wentz on a scramble play where he lowered his shoulders like a fullback fighting to get into the end zone. He was denied, but it was the kind of play the new face of the franchise has to make to change the personality of the organization. The next play he tossed a one-yard touchdown pass to Z Ertz to tie the score at 10.
The half ended with a stalled drive by the Panthers due to a play called meeting at the CAM. (quarterback) The entire defensive line walloped Cam Newton to keep the Panthers out of field goal position. At the half, both quarterbacks were taking a beating Wentz sacked three times in the first quarter, and for Newton, the pocket around him was collapsing at will.
Philly came up with a gifted interception on a little screenplay the ball hit J Stewart in the wrong place directly in the hands he suffered from stone fingers reflecting the ball upward it came down in the hands of P Robinson at the 17-yard line. They made Carolina pay in the worst way on a touchdown pass to Ertz for his second on the night from Wentz. Carolina fouled on the successful field goal, and Pederson did what most coaches would not he decided to take the penalty removing the point from the scoreboard while moving the ball half the distance to the goal. They went for the two-point conversion. It worked on a short run by power back LeGarrette Blount giving them a two-possession lead 18-10.
The teams exchanged field goals which resulted in advantage Philadelphia. Cam Newton running an option on the short side of the field just doesn’t set well, but that is their offense. I just don’t know if it is worth the risk of your franchise player. On 3rd n 16, Wentz hit M Hollins across the middle to pick up 20 yards and a new set of downs.
A Jeffery caught a 37-yard pass down to the Carolina 24. The only thing that stopped them from scoring was the clock running out to make the switch ends of the field to start the 4th Quarter. Shaq Thompson found his hands full on the next play Wentz threw a bullet to the speedy Angholor for an easy 24-yard touchdown. On the 6 play 75-yard scoring drive, Wentz was on fire connecting on 5-5 passes. It was an impressive showing by the second year Quarterback. He was in a pressure cooker facing 2nd and 25 and 3rd and 16
Newtons touchdown celebration is the Superman Chest Rip on a play diving toward the goal line he displayed a Herculean effort extending beyond the pylon as he sailed out of bound as two defenders were mangling him. The play was reviewed but not overturned. I question the challenge as it resulted in a wasted timeout. Why not settle for the ball on the inch line take your four chances to score and keep that valued commodity called a timeout in your back pocket for something critical.
The next play Newton stood up and tossed McCaffery his second career touchdown to make the score Philly 28-23 Panthers. The Eagles kept Carolina in the game on penalties at this point they had committed nine gifting 121 yards.
The Panthers defense came up with a big stop to set the stage for an interesting finish at the 5:49 mark of the fourth quarter, recall they were down to two timeouts. The Panthers offense was determined. CB Douglas committed a holding penalty awarding a first down. Barnett atoned for the rushing the passer penalty by sacking Cam Newton for his first NFL sack. McCaffrey caught a short pass, slipped out of the defender’s arms and tiptoed down the sideline but came up 1 yard short of the yard to gain. Carolina decided to go on 4th in 1 with 3.33 remaining. The Riverboat Gambler Head Coach Ron Rivera second-guessed and went into a strategy session. It worked McCaffrey go just inside the markers, and Newton put it on the numbers to gain the first down to keep the drive alive. This is where that challenge becomes costly they were down to one remaining timeout.
Douglas had an interception dead to right, but the ball slipped through his hands. On 3rd and 10, Newton pressed the issue and threw the ball to the wrong team Mills came up with the easy pick. There was no safety in the middle of the field Cam thought the receiver was going deep up the seam, but he cut the route short. That was his third interception of the night. It appeared that was going to be the proverbial nail in the coffin. The Eagles could only take 1:10 off the clock. The Panthers were on life support, but they got another chance at the 31-yard line with 2:03 remaining on the ticker. In crunch time they could only move the ball 21 yards in 5 plays before Cam threw a nose-diving pass towards McCaffrey. He made a valiant effort the ball one-hopped into his hands.
The Eagles took possession and turned out the lights 28-23. Carson Wentz finished the game 16-30 for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns most importantly no interceptions with a QB Rating 110.7. Meanwhile his counterpart Cam Newton threw most passes in his career in a single game 28-52 for 239 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 critical interceptions. He has thrown 8 on the season. Philadelphia scored off two of those turnovers that proved to be the difference in the game.
Coach Rivera said, “Just a disappointment. We had some opportunities, and unfortunately, we didn’t capitalize. You can’t kick field goals and beat good teams. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again. You can’t kick field goals and beat good teams. You can’t turn the ball over and not take the ball away. Unfortunately, they took the ball away twice and scored points off of it. We took the ball away once and didn’t get any points out of it. To me, that’s right where it is. I think we have to do a better job as coaches putting these guys into position to have success.”
The Eagles showed why they are the NFL’s best 3rd down team and why they were the best team tonight.