Philadelphia Eagles: Wentz ready for playoffs?

Carson Wentz is for real.

Lane Johnson missed the second half of the Eagles' 34-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals because of what the team termed a "head injury" but a league source confirmed was a concussion.

The usual culprits were to blame, as protection for quarterback Carson Palmer was poor and the running game was virtually non-existent. According to ESPN Analytics, the Eagles have a 68 percent chance to win the NFC East and a 78 percent shot of making the playoffs.

Wentz has thrown for almost 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns, with three interceptions, over the first five games. But the Cardinals have the 10th best run defense in the NFL. That caused the Eagles to be penalized for an illegal formation and nullified a 57-yard Zach Ertz touchdown pass that would've given the Birds the lead in what turned out to be a loss. Carson Palmer, who is watching the clock wind down on his very good National Football League career, looked overmatched by the Eagles defense. His confidence has returned even as Smith's has ebbed and flowed after signing with the Eagles as a free agent.

Backup tight end Trey Burton roasted Deone Bucannon for a 15-yard touchdown on the Eagles' opening possession.

After the Cardinals went three-and-out to open the game, Wentz and the Eagles took over at their own 46.

Smith and a few teammates came up with an original, baseball-themed TD celebration. Fitzgerald had six catches for 51 yards on the day.

The Eagles were 9-for-14 on third down. On Thursday night they face a Carolina Panthers team that is just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance and is also 4-1. Against Arizona Barner only had 23 yards rushing, but 110 yards total on three punt returns, including a 76-yard return in the first quarter that set up an Eagles touchdown.

Jake Elliott kicked two field goals on the day, hitting from 28 and 36 yards out.

Wentz drove the Eagles straight down the field connecting with four different receivers on the short field. The Eagles needed the undrafted rookie to block against the blitz-happy Cardinals.

It was mildly surprising that Jaylen Watkins, who started the Kansas City game at corner after Ronald Darby dislocated an ankle in the opener, was inactive Sunday.

Smith caught a pass over the middle from Wentz in the first quarter and sprinted away from Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams en route to the end zone.

Wentz engineered an offense that hogged the ball for 35:47 and he spread the ball around to just about anybody who wanted it. "We sent pressure at him a couple of times and he was able to escape a little bit, especially in the second half". The Cardinals went three-and-out quickly. "The key is just staying grounded and staying focused on our job and focused on the next game."It won't be long before the next game. He's prepared for it", McNabb said". "Whatever they want to call, that's on them".

Fitzgerald is No. 3 on the NFL's all-time receptions list with 1,151 catches. The Cards were 5-2 in those games. Agholor tracked the deep pass, caught it, and danced past a defender for the 72-yard score.

  • Joanne Flowers