By: Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Carson Wentz came rising out of the artificial mist on a soggy Sunday with his arms outstretched as if to proclaim that the Eagles’ savoir had arrived. The Eagles’ quarterback was greeted with thunderous applause by the drenched Eagles’ faithful at Lincoln Financial Field.
Wentz will still need work on being “Carson Wentz,” but the creaky facsimile worked well enough to get by the feisty Indianapolis Colts, 20-16, with a huge assist from Derek Barnett, whose 16-yard sack with 1:13 left to play preserved the victory.
Wentz finished completing 25 of 37 passes for 255 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Overall, the Eagles offense amassed 26 first downs and 379 yards of total offense to the Colts’ 14 first downs and a mere 209 yards of total offense.
While the focus was on Wentz, it was Barnett who made the play of the game.
With the Colts sitting at the Eagles’ 4-yard line on a fourth-and-three, Barnett flushed Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck out of the pocket and tripped him up at the 20, giving the Eagles possession and the chance to shave valuable seconds off the clock.
It left the Colts with a desperation heave with :05 left, which was knocked down by Malcolm Jenkins in the end zone.
Wentz took the Eagles right up the field on their first drive. He completed five of seven passes for 55 yards, which ended on a 13-yard touchdown completion to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, his first NFL TD catch. Wentz and the Eagles were so efficient that only had to convert one third down on the 12-play drive.
Wentz stood in the pocket with authority, and aside from sailing his first pass to Josh Perkins, didn’t appear to let his hyped emotions get in the way.
There was a collective hush from the Linc when Wentz was hit late by Colts’ defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad with 3:44 left in the first quarter. But Wentz got up, and the Eagles received a fresh new set of downs due to Muhammad’s late hit and the Eagles continued.
Wentz looked a little rusty in his first start in nine months after recovering from knee surgery for the torn ACL and LLC tears in his left knee.
It may be why some foibles surfaced along the way. A Wentz third-quarter interception by Colts’ linebacker Anthony Walker set up Indianapolis’ 13-10 go-ahead score, a 31-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal with 8:23 left in the quarter.
With :20 left in the third quarter, Wentz was strip sacked by Colts’ defensive end Margus Hunt, giving Indianapolis the ball at the Eagles’ 13. This time, Wentz was bailed out by a brilliant play by linebacker Nigel Bradham, whose open-field tackle on Jordan Wilkins on a third-and-seven at the Eagles’ 10 forced the Colts into another Vinatieri field goal and a 16-13 Colts lead.
Defensive end Derek Barnett’s 16-yard sack with 1:13 left to play preserved the victory. Earlier in the game Barnett had a tackle on Marcus Johnson for a two-yard loss on the Colts’ fourth possession.
Quarterback Carson Wentz going 5-for-7 for 55 yards and a touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession.
Tight end Dallas Goedert’s first career NFL TD catch that gave the Eagles a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
The Eagles’ defense on the first drives for Indianapolis, holding the Colts to a pair of three-and-outs.
Running back Wendell Smallwood picking up 61 total yards in the first half, including a 34-yard reception that set up Jake Elliott’s 33-yard field goal with 3:09 left in the half. Smallwood later provided the eventual winning score with 3:02 left on a four-yard TD run.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox’s seven-yard sack with 1:54 left in the first half.
Cornerback Jalen Mills’ tackle on Nyheim Hines for minus-1 yard just before the two-minute warning of the first half. Mills later broke up a touchdown attempt with 8:26 left in the third quarter in the corner of the end zone.
Safety Rodney McLeod’s pass defense with 11:56 left in the third quarter on T.Y. Hilton.
Defensive end Derek Barnett’s tackle for a 1-yard loss on Nyheim Hines with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
Linebacker Nigel Bradham’s open-field tackle on Jordan Wilkins on a third-and-seven at the Eagles’ 10, forcing the Colts into a Adam Vinatieri 28-yard field goal with 14:20 to play, and a 16-13 Colts’ lead.
Receiver Nelson Agholor diving for a first down on third-and-nine from the Colts’ 36 with 4:40 remaining in the game. The crucial play led to Smallwood’s go-ahead score with 3:02 to play.
Tackle Jason Peters’ two false start penalties in the first half.
Goedert’s holding penalty on the Eagles’ fourth possession at the Indianapolis 45.
Tight end Josh Perkins’ drop with 6:10 left in the third quarter.
Linebacker D.J. Alexander’s penalty for running into the kicker with 1:26 left in the third quarter. It was bad—but it could have been ugly if the Colts opted to go for it and succeeded on fourth-and-one at the Colts’ 34.
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews’ holding penalty on Corey Clement’s long run with less than 11:00 to play.
Center Jason Kelce’s snap on Eagles’ first-and-goal at the Indianapolis seven with 4:23 left in the half. The bad snap resulted in a seven-yard loss, and the Eagles were forced to settle for an Elliott’s 33-yard field goal.
Cornerback Jalen Mills’ 33-yard interference penalty trying to defend T.Y. Hilton, which set up the Colts’ first score, a 5-yard TD toss from Andrew Luck to Ryan Grant with :24 left in the first quarter.
Punter Cameron Johnston’s hold on Elliott’s 55-yard field goal attempt that hooked wide left. Johnston didn’t appear to have a grasp of the ball when he placed it.
Wentz’s third-quarter interception by Colts’ linebacker Anthony Walker with 9:30 left in the third quarter, setting up the Colts’ 13-10 go-ahead score, a 31-yard Vinatieri field goal with 8:23 left in the quarter. Wentz was strip sacked by Colts’ defensive end Margus Hunt with :20 left in the third quarter, giving Indianapolis the ball at the Eagles’ 13.
The Eagles’ 10 penalties for 110 yards.