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Carson Wentz Shines In First NFL Start


Hours before kickoff, Carson Wentz stood on the field at Lincoln Financial Field and took in his surroundings. The quiet atmosphere didn't last long, as the stadium would fill to capacity later that afternoon, but it allowed him to take a few seconds and soak in a dream fulfilled.

The quarterback had imagined the day he'd become a starter in the National Football League for as long as he could remember. Suddenly, that moment was right in front of him. He took it by the reins and ran away with it.

Wentz finished the afternoon 22-of-37 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and a 101.0 quarterback rating. However, most importantly, he walked away from his first game with the W in hand. The rookie couldn't have asked for anything more.

"At the end of the day, we won," Wentz said. "That's all you dream and you want to win. That was the goal today and we got a great team win. I think it'll hit me now after the game. I've been dreaming about this since I was a kid. Again, it's just the first of many."

The quarterback's mission was evident the moment the game began. Wentz wanted to put his team on the board early. In just over five minutes, he led the Eagles on a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Matthews.

It was clear Wentz meant business.

"Going down, moving the ball, getting the 20-yard touchdown or whatever it was right away, right off the bat was huge for my confidence, huge for this team's confidence," Wentz said. "I know the people here (at Lincoln Financial Field) were rocking, so it was a lot of fun and a great start to the year."

That opening drive set the tone for the rest of the Sunday afternoon. The Eagles' offense felt they could accomplish whatever was needed to come away from Week 1 undefeated and it did just that on arguably one of the biggest plays of the game.

On a fourth-and-4 in the third quarter, Doug Pederson put the ball in Wentz's hands and the quarterback rewarded his coach's faith by hitting tight end Zach Ertz to keep the drive alive. On the next play, Wentz connected with Nelson Agholor for his longest pass of the game, a 35-yard touchdown.

"Staying on the field was huge and then we took a shot right away," Wentz explained. "When coach called it, I was pretty excited. Nelson right off the ball, if you go back and watch it, he killed his guy and had a great release. I just put it out there for him and he was running. It was great, a great play."

While the end result was exactly what he and the team wanted, neither Wentz nor the rest of the Eagles are reading too much into the performance. There are always areas to improve on and they're looking forward to building as the season progresses.

But for now, Wentz gets to enjoy the successful first performance and get used to his new normal. He's no longer a guy from North Dakota. He's now officailly one of the faces of the Philadelphia Eagles.

"At the end of the day for me, it's still just about playing football," Wentz said. "I got to block out the noise, both good and bad, and just get back to work. That's what it's about and the goal is to go 1-0 each week."

The Eagles opened their regular season at home against the Cleveland Browns and went home with the 29-10 victory.

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