Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Wentz, Eagles flying high

Posted by Eric Fisher On October 23

There was no way out. The pocket was collapsing around Carson Wentz. Bodies were closing in around him.

And then Wentz made a Houdini-like escape.

With the Lincoln Financial Field crowd gasping in awe, Wentz scrambled 17 yards upfield. Instead of the Eagles being forced to punt, they had a first down at their own 44-yard line.

That wasn’t the only amazing play Wentz made, but it may have been the most important one. His magical escape occurred on the second play of the fourth quarter, just a few moments after the Redskins had cut the Eagles’ lead to seven points.

Instead of the Redskins gaining possession while trailing by a touchdown, Wentz, who threw four touchdown passes, sparked a scoring drive that would extend the Eagles’ lead to a comfortable 14 points, enabling them to coast down the stretch to a 34-24 victory.

With the win, the Eagles (6-1) continue to have the best record in the NFL. They also are in firm control of the NFC East, with a substantial lead on the Cowboys (3-3) and Redskins (3-3). With upcoming home games against the winless 49ers and struggling Broncos, the Eagles have a legitimate shot to enter their bye week with an 8-1 record.

Monday’s win didn’t come without a steep price. Linebacker Jordan Hicks was helped off the field on the second play of the game with an ankle injury. He did not put any weight on his right leg as he was assisted off the field.

More damaging, perhaps, was the right knee injury suffered by left tackle Jason Peters on the second play from scrimmage during the second half. Peters, 35, was carted off the field. In an emotional scene, Eagles players gathered around Peters before he was carted off, and the 9-time Pro Bowler was serenaded with chants of “Jason Peters!” by the sellout crowd.

If Peters’ injury turns out to be as serious as it appears, the Eagles may shift Lane Johnson from right tackle to left tackle. For Monday’s second half, they left Johnson at right tackle, with Halapoulivaati Vaitai filling in for Peters at left tackle.

With the way Wentz is playing, though, perhaps it doesn’t matter which players are out of the lineup with injuries. Wentz seems to make big plays nearly every time the Eagles need one.

On the end of the first drive of the second half, the one during which Peters was injured, Wentz made several terrific plays. On third-and-3 at the Redskins 48-yard line, Wentz made a terrific decision to keep the ball, racing 21 yards to set up a first down at the 27.

The best play of that drive was the final play. Wentz ducked under a pass rusher, and then made a tremendous throw to rookie running back Corey Clement on the right side of the end zone, extending the Eagles’ lead to 24-10 with 9:43 remaining in the third quarter.

After falling behind, 10-3, the Eagles scored touchdowns on their next three possessions. The first touchdown came on a deep pass on which Wentz hit rookie Mack Hollins in stride for a 64-yard touchdown, Hollins’ first touchdown in the NFL.

A touchdown pass to Zach Ertz and the touchdown pass to Clement gave the Eagles a 24-10 lead, but the Redskins pulled within seven points on a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed with 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Trailing by seven points, and with momentum seemingly on their side, the Redskins needed one touchdown during the final 15 minutes to force overtime. They appeared to take a big step in that direction when they forced the Eagles into a third-and-8 at the 27.

The Redskins blitzed on third down and had Wentz surrounded. But the second-year quarterback found a way to escape the rush and scrambled for a first down. Six plays later, Wentz fired a 10-yard touchdown strike to Nelson Agholor to increase the Eagles’ lead to 31-17.

Wentz’s four touchdown passes Monday give him 17 this season, tops in the NFL. Consequently, the Eagles are at the top of the NFL.

With Carson Wentz leading the way, it seems unlikely that the Eagles will be knocked off their perch any time soon.

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