NFL

Carson Wentz’ Historic Rookie Season is Making the Eagles a Force

The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to grossly mismanage their quarterback situation this offseason. Less than two months after shelling out more than $50 million to sign Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, they traded five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns –– including the No. 8 overall selection and a first-rounder next year –– for the privilege to nab Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick.

As the Redskins learned from the RGIII fiasco, mortgaging the draft board to trade up and take a rookie quarterback is a risky endeavor. The Eagles’ decision to target Wentz was especially questionable, considering he only started for one full season at North Dakota State before breaking his wrist seven games into his senior campaign.




But so far, they’ve been rewarded. After a 34-3 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, the Eagles are now 3-0 and lead the NFC East. Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns in the win and is already in the record books. He’s the first rookie with at least 100 passing attempts, 60 completions and five touchdowns without an interception. If Wentz can avoid throwing a pick for another two games, he’ll likely break Tom Brady’s record of 162 passing attempts without an interception to start off his career.

Some have dismissed Wentz’s brilliance due to the Eagles’ soft early schedule. But a blowout win over the Steelers, which also featured Jim Schwartz’s defense suffocating perhaps the most prolific passing attack in the NFL, should put Wentz and the Eagles on everybody’s radar.




Hey! The Cowboys are winning behind a rookie QB, too: Dak Prescott’s numbers aren’t as impressive as Wentz’s, but he’s allowed the Cowboys to double their win total without Tony Romo from a season ago.

Dallas is now 2-1 after beating the Chicago Bears in a dud of a Sunday Night Football game. A Tony Romo and Jay Cutler showdown would’ve been an entertaining shitshow of epic proportions. Somehow, Prescott vs. Brian Hoyer didn’t have the same appeal.




Regardless, Prescott threw his first touchdown of the season Sunday –– a 17-yard toss to Dez Bryant –– and has now thrown 99 passes without an interception. Considering Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden and Kellen Moore threw 15 picks last year, Dallas will take the competency.

Prescott isn’t a candidate to take Romo’s starting job … yet. But the previously unheralded fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State is now on the map.

A bad day for New York quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick beat out Eli Manning for the back page tabloid battle, but it wasn’t an easy feat. Heading into Sunday’s game between the Redskins and Giants, most of the attention was on the rematch between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. By the end of the afternoon, however, Manning’s two fourth quarter interceptions were the story.




The showdown between Norman and OBJ didn’t disappoint. They got reacquainted early in the first half, with Norman picking up Beckham in the end zone to perform an impromptu dance routine. It really was adorable.

Beckham roasted Norman twice early in the fourth quarter, reeling in an incredible one-handed grab down the left sideline and then stiff-arming Norman on the very next play. But the drive ended with a Manning interception in the red zone, which led to OBJ losing a fight to a kicking net on the sidelines and shedding some tears. You know, the usual stuff.

 

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Manning’s two picks –– he threw another one during the Giants’ final drive –– lost the game for the Giants, but Fitzpatrick’s wretched day never even gave the Jets a chance against the Kansas City Chiefs. The lumberjack lookalike tossed up six interceptions in the Gang Green’s 24-3 loss, which earned him the worst single-game grade Pro Football Focus has ever handed out.




After posting a career year at age 32, it seems as if the football Gods have once again turned Fitzpatrick into a turnover machine. That’s depressing news for the Jets, whose performance head coach Todd Bowles accurately described as “shitty all around.”

Pretty passes from Trevor Siemien: The Broncos won the Super Bowl last season despite receiving the worst quarterback play in the league on nearly a weekly basis. Seventh-round pick Trevor Siemien has been a big upgrade.

Denver defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 29-17 Sunday to improve their record to 3-0. Though the Broncos’ defense ruled the headlines through the first two weeks of the season, this was Siemien’s day. He threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns, with no throw prettier than this sensational toss to Emmanuel Sanders.

The Vikings could be this year’s Broncos: Denver’s defense led them to the promised land last season. The Vikings appear to be following a similar blueprint.




Minnesota destroyed the Carolina Panthers 22-10 Sunday despite only gaining 34 yards of offense in the first half. But a 54-yard punt return kept them in the game, and then their defense pounced on Cam Newton during the final two quarters.

The unbeaten Vikings picked off Newton three times and sacked him on eight occasions. They now lead the NFL with 15 sacks through three games and own a league-best +8 turnover ratio as well.

Losing Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson for the year along with left tackle Matt Kalil for several weeks means the Vikings will probably have to win the majority of their games on defense. But so far, they’ve done exactly that. This is one scary defense, though they aren’t quite as frightening as Cam’s postgame outfit choice. WTF?

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Aaron Rodgers doesn’t suck anymore: For the first time in 13 regular season games, Aaron Rodgers posted a QB rating north of 100 in the Packers’ 34-27 win over the Detroit Lions yesterday. He threw for 205 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half. Perhaps his career isn’t over after all.




Browns are gonna Browns: Something exciting actually happened in a Browns game Sunday. With rookie Cody Kessler under center due to injuries to RGIII and Josh McCown, Terrelle Pryor took some snaps at QB. He was 3-of-5 for 25 yards passing and also ran it four times for 21 yards –– scoring a touchdown. Plus, he led all receivers with eight catches for 144 yards and a score.

But of course, good news doesn’t last long in Cleveland. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was strip-sacked deep in his own territory with 26 seconds left in regulation, setting up the Browns to kick a game-winning field goal. But few franchises in professional sports are better at turning wins into losses than the Browns. Newly acquired Cody Parkey missed his third field goal of the day and the Dolphins went on to win the game in overtime. Sad!

 

Hot Seat: The Jacksonville Jaguars are now 0-3 after falling to the Baltimore Ravens at home Sunday. Blake Bortles threw three interceptions in one of the uglier losses of the season.

With a trip to London’s Wembley Stadium on the horizon for next week, head coach Gus Bradley should be on alert. If the Jaguars lose to the Indianapolis Colts, which is likely, Bradley could become the third coach in three seasons to get canned after a loss in the U.K.

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