Carson Wentz needs to carry injury-plagued Eagles to finish line

NFL

PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz is going to have to play transcendent football if the Philadelphia Eagles are to overcome the slew of injuries on offense and make a playoff push down the stretch.

That was not the case in the Eagles’ 17-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, as Wentz finished 20-of-39 for 214 yards and a touchdown. He had a ton working against him. Not only was he down top receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson and lead back Jordan Howard entering the game, but lost right tackle Lane Johnson to a head injury in the second quarter. The Patriots’ defense teed off, sacking Wentz five times and registering 11 QB hits as a depleted Eagles offense managed just 3.9 yards per play.

It won’t always be this dire — Jeffery, Howard and Johnson should all be back in the coming weeks — but it’s become evident that the offense that was imagined in the offseason will not materialize, and that health is going to be an issue for this veteran roster the rest of the way.

It falls on Wentz to thrive amid the adversity and make everyone around him better, as other top-end quarterbacks, like Sunday’s counterpart Tom Brady, have done over their careers. That might be a tall order, or even unfair, but these are the moments that franchise quarterbacks have to find a way to get it done.

Pivotal play: Early in the third quarter, the Patriots dug into their bag of tricks and called a wide receiver pass. Julian Edelman took a lateral throw from Brady and found Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for a 15-yard score. Ronald Darby was on Dorsett initially but slowed in coverage after the initial toss to Edelman. That was the last score of the game.

Promising trend: The defense has really started to round into form over the past several weeks, holding Buffalo to 13 points and Chicago to 14 before a strong outing Sunday in which Brady (26-of-47, 216 yards) was made to look mortal. The secondary has solidified with the return of cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Darby. Couple that with improved play from the defensive line, led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s unit has something cooking.

Silver lining: The Eagles (5-5) have the Seahawks at home next week. It gets much easier from there: @Dolphins, vs. Giants, @Redskins, vs. Cowboys, @Giants. They’re just a game back of the Cowboys and have plenty of time to make up the deficit.

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