PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While there is no panic in the NovaCare Complex, there may be some brewing if the Eagles hand in another flawed performance this Sunday against the visiting Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck.
Carson Wentz returns for the first time since last December, and the Eagles and the crowd will certainly be charged up. The problem that the Eagles face is an anemic passing game that is ranked 29th in the NFL in yards per pass attempt, which is 5.6. Wentz returns after passing in 2017 for 3,296 yards, and was ranked second in NFL in TD passes (33) and fourth in QB rating (101.9) in 13 games. He is 8-0 with 21 TDs vs. four interceptions for a 105.6 rating in his last eight home games. In three career home starts vs. AFC opponents, Wentz is 3-0 with 778 yards passing (259.3 per game), eight TDs and 0 interceptions.
But he hasn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game since Dec. 10, 2017.
There will be rust that needs shaking off and timing established, not mention receivers that can break away from defenders.
Wentz has practiced and absorbed game film.
But how will that translate on to the field against a Colts’ defense that features outstanding Colts’ rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week last week, who had a career-high 18 tackles, a sack, forced-fumble in the Colts’ 21-9 win at Washington. Leonard became one of four players since 1994 and first since Patrick Willis (12/23/07) with 18-plus tackles, a sack and a force-fumble in a single game. Leonard, by the way, also leads the NFL with 27 tackles.
“Well, this game is not easy, but I think what he’s seen through watching [QB] Nick [Foles], going back to last year obviously, going through training camp, going through the first part of the season and then what Carson has studied on tape, I think it can only help him. It can sort of enhance his game a little bit,” Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson said. “I think sometimes sort of big picture you get a chance to see everything and take everything in from that view. It’s a different view and it’s a positive view. So, that’s why moving forward, I’m excited to see where he is at in that progression of his game.”
If the Eagle lose on Sunday, they could conceivably begin their Super Bowl defense at 1-4, with Tennessee and Minnesota next.
LEADER: Colts lead all-time series, 10-8
STREAKS: Eagles have won past 2
LAST GAME: 9/15/14: Eagles 30 at Colts 27
LAST GAME AT SITE: 11/7/10: Eagles 26, Colts 24
PTS. FOR/AGAINST 19.5/19.5
PASSING Nick Foles: 54-82-451-1-1-78.9
RUSHING Jay Ajayi: 22-85-3.9-3 (Tied 1st in NFL)
RECEIVING Zach Ertz: 16-142-8.9-0
SACKS Fletcher Cox: 2.5
PTS. FOR/AGAINST 22.0/21.5
PASSING Andrew Luck: 60-84-498-4-3-87.3
RUSHING Jordan Wilkins (R): 24-101-4.2-0
RECEIVING T.Y. Hilton: 12-129-10.8-2
SACKS Margus Hunt: 2