Wentz benched in Eagles' 30-16 loss at Green Bay
Jalen Hurts steps in for Wentz to give Eagles a little spark
GREEN BAY, Wis. - A blowout Philadelphia Eagles loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers took a sharp, unexpected turn Sunday when rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts replaced Carson Wentz in the second half of a 30-16 setback.
The team’s brutally inefficient offense before that wasn’t all Wentz’s fault, but Hurts definitely changed the tone, tossing a spectacular first-career touchdown pass, before his first interception, in desperation time, with a minute and 47 seconds remaining, sealed the loss. It was the fourth in a row for a team that sank to 3-8-1, and richly deserved to lose.
Who is the quarterback next week vs. New Orleans? That might be the last big question of the season for a team that has trailed by double digits in nine of 12 games. Wentz is the Eagles' fifth-year quarterback from North Dakota State.
Hurts’ first touchdown pass was reminiscent of the sort of thing Wentz used to do. Fourth-and-18, under pressure, rolls right, finds Greg Ward in the end zone from 32 yards.
This seemed like a great thing for the kid and the entrée to a week of heated sports talk crusading, but no more than that – until Jalen Reagor took Greg Ward’s spot for a punt return and brought it back 73 yards for a touchdown that made it 23-16, after Jake Elliott’s missed extra point.
The Eagles were alive.
Until they weren’t. A team that has done a solid job of stopping running backs this season gave up a 77-yard touchdown run to Aaron Jones, and that was that for dreams of a season-altering victory.
The Eagles actually got off to a decent start. They took the opening kickoff and marched – well, inched – downfield, 15 plays, 41 yards before Jake Elliott’s 52-yard field goal gave them the lead for the first time in four games. Wentz’s third-down pass to Boston Scott would have kept the drive going, but Scott’s arm was held, and there was no pass interference call.
They shut down the Packers on Green Bay’s first possession, got the ball back and were driving again. Maybe all that taking of accountability this week, and that reported players-only meeting, would actually mean something.
Nah. Rodgers drove the Pack 88 yards on 14 plays, scoring on a fourth-and-goal pass from the 1 to Davante Adams, covered by Darius Slay.
Then the Eagles’ offense went into hibernation. The visitors got a first down on a neutral zone infraction but could do nothing with it, Wentz going down on his third sack in three series, on a third-down blitz.
Rodgers, who threw his 400th touchdown pass Sunday, had the Eagles figured out. Seven plays, 82 yards, effortlessly flicking a 25-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan, wide open behind the defense. The Eagles were behind 14-3 at halftime, their ninth double-digit deficit in 12 games.
Rodgers went into halftime 13 for 14 for 161 yards and two touchdowns; Wentz was 5-for-12 for 38, with four sacks. The Eagles gained 90 yards in the first half, 41 of them on that first drive.
After Rodgers authored a 99-yard drive that took only seven plays to hit Adams for yet another touchdown, it was 20-3 and finally, time for Hurts. Wentz sat down on six-for-15, 79 yards, no turnovers but nothing close to a touchdown; he was not able to get his offense into the red zone.
The Eagles also lifted Jason Peters, who was playing with a toe injury, for Nate Herbig, and on third-and-4 of the first entire series of the season Hurts was given, he hit Jalen Reagor down the sideline for 34 yards, to the Packers’ 35. But an Isaac Seumalo holding penalty on a nice Boston Scott run killed the drive. The penalty was not obvious on replay.