Carson Wentz leads Eagles to 20-16 comeback win over Colts
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz eluded defenders, scrambled, threw his body around and played the same way he has throughout his career.
He’s all the way back.
Playing his first game since he tore two ligaments in his left knee last Dec. 10, Wentz had no fear and no hesitation, even on a wet, soggy field. He threw a touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert on his first drive and engineered a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter as the Philadelphia Eagles held on for a 20-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
“I don’t want to put restrictions on him,” coach Doug Pederson said. “I don’t want to put him in bubble wrap.”
Wentz took five sacks but escaped a few more on three scrambles. He also extended plays with his legs, including a clutch 10-yard pass to Nelson Agholor on third-and-9 on the decisive drive. He didn’t mind taking hits and wasn’t afraid to dive headfirst out of bounds on a run.
“It felt like riding a bike, get hit and pop back up again,” he said. “It was normal.”
Adam Vinatieri provided most of the scoring for Indianapolis, which couldn’t take advantage of two turnovers by Wentz inside the 20 in the second half. Vinatieri tied Morten Andersen’s career record of 565 field goals by connecting on all three tries.
“I like to step out there and kick field goals,” Vinatieri said, “but it’s better kicking extra points, that’s for sure.”
The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles (2-1) needed two defensive stops against Andrew Luck in the final 90 seconds to secure the win.
Derek Barnett sacked Luck for a 16-yard loss on fourth down from the 4.
“We just wanted to collapse the pocket and put as much pressure on Luck as possible,” Barnett said. “We just keep rushing and playing fast.”
The Eagles will hit the road next week to face the Tennessee Titans (9-6). The Colts (1-2) will host the Houston Texans (0-3).
Here’s some things we learned from Philadelphia’s win over Indianapolis:
Missing their top two running backs — Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles — didn’t slow the Eagles down on the ground. They had a season-high 152 yards rushing. Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement each had 56 yards, and rookie Josh Adams added 30. Smallwood’s 4-yard TD runs gave the Eagles the lead for good.
“We know we had to step up to the plate and have a bigger role,” Clement said.
Goedert had seven catches for 73 yards and his first career TD. The team had high expectations for the rookie second-round pick but he only made one reception in the first two games.
“When you have three tight ends in the game, you are going to get quite a few targets,” Goedert said. “Nothing better than getting the first (TD) out of the way. It felt real good.”
Luck, who missed the entire 2017 season after having shoulder surgery, said he needed a second to realize why Jacoby Brissett replaced him on the final play but understood his backup gave the Colts a better chance to make a desperation throw.
“I support the decision 100 percent,” he said. “Jacoby has a stronger arm than I do. It’s what I see in practice. I’ll keep working to where my arm can make an 80-yard throw from the minus 30.”
RED ZONE WOES
The Colts were 1 for 5 inside the red zone. They couldn’t convert after reaching the Eagles 11 and getting two cracks from the 4 in the final minutes. Luck’s pass to T.Y. Hilton sailed over his shoulder in the left corner of the end zone on third down and Derek Barnett sacked Luck on fourth down.
“It’s unacceptable,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “We have to learn from it and get better.”
The Eagles have held opponents to 2 for 10 in two games at home.
HURRY BACK, ALSHON
Wentz completed only six passes to wide receivers, including two to Jordan Matthews, who returned to the team on Wednesday. Alshon Jeffery has missed the first three games following offseason shoulder surgery and Mike Wallace went on injured reserve last week.