Carson Wentz called it a "tale of two halves," and he was right.
After starting out hot, hot, hot against Washington on Sunday at FedEx Field – he completed 14 of his first 18 passes and threw two touchdowns in the process – Wentz went stone cold. So did the offense as the Eagles lost a 17-point lead and fell 27-17 to Washington, Doug Pederson's first loss in a season opener in his five seasons as the head coach.
It went from nearly perfect to lousy for the offense just like that. A Wentz pass intended for wide receiver Jalen Reagor was intercepted on the left sideline with under two minutes to go in the second quarter and Washington turned it into seven points and had new life. And the Football Team took advantage of it.
"I've got to be better, I know that," Wentz said. "We came out offensively feeling good. We moved the ball right down the field (the Eagles scored a touchdown on their first drive), put up points, got ahead in the game … I've gotta clean up the interceptions. I put our defense in a bad spot on a couple of occasions. We definitely lost some momentum and we didn't make the plays we needed to make.
"I've got to be better. It starts with me. I've got to protect the ball and lead these guys better and I'll own that."
Wentz finished 24-for-42 for 270 yards, with two touchdowns, two interceptions, a lost fumble, and another fumble that center Jason Kelce recovered. Wentz was under pressure most of the day – at least after a first quarter in which he was 9-for-11 for 123 yards and a touchdown and the Eagles led, 10-0. It became 17-0 after a beautiful Wentz touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Goedert, and before throwing his late-first half interception, Wentz completed 12 of his first 14 passes and the Eagles were flying.
And in the second half, they were grounded.
A tale of two halves, for sure.
Yes, the makeshift offensive line that featured rookie Jack Driscoll at right tackle before he was injured, replaced by Jordan Mailata making his NFL regular-season debut, and second-year man Nate Herbig making his first start at right guard, was ravaged by Washington's outstanding defensive front to the tune of eight sacks, and yes, the Eagles called only 17 running plays, gaining only 57 yards.
But Wentz was sloppy and he missed some receivers and he knows he has to be better and that he will be better.
"Some of those things, I've got to clean up. I might have had open guys that I could have gotten rid of the ball quicker … I've got to clean up some things, I missed some throws, those things happen," Wentz said.
"It was very frustrating walking off that field knowing the momentum and how we felt early in that game. We got up early, off to a great start, and it kind of spiraled out of control, and the next thing you know, we were in a second-and-15 multiple drives in a row and just couldn't get ahead of the chains and make plays. We turned the ball over, we've got to protect the ball … it was definitely frustrating."