September 16, 2020
As you saw on Sunday afternoon, Carson Wentz was sacked eight times. And so, let's go ahead and see what happened on each of those eight sacks, in gif form, shall we?
We should note that the "coaches film" is somehow not yet available, so we'll have to forge ahead without it, though in this case it's not hard to see what happened.
Football Team safety Troy Apke comes down from his safety spot and blitzes to the outside. Rookie Jack Driscoll abandons his responsibility in Ryan Kerrigan to pick up Apke, and Kerrigan has a free run at Wentz. Meanwhile, Apke is double-teamed by Driscoll and Boston Scott.
Wentz makes the sack worse by retreating further back into the pocket, but this one is clearly on Driscoll.
On the very next play, Kerrigan isn't sold that Dallas Goedert is actually trying to block him, and he quickly realizes a screen is coming. With nowhere to throw it, Wentz tucks the ball and tries to run it, but Matt Ioannidis brings him down for a loss of 2.
If you'll recall, Wentz was concussed on a similar play in the playoffs last year against the Seahawks.
If the screen isn't there, just chuck it into the dirt like almost every other quarterback in the NFL. That's on Wentz.
Corey Clement gets a really good chip on Chase Young on the edge, and in fact, it's actually too good, as he propels Young into an unplanned-but-nasty spin move to the inside, and Jason Peters is left blocking the air. Yes, Clement helped the spin move, but Peters shouldn't be getting beaten inside when he knows he has chip help from the running back on the outside.
But that's not really what's noteworthy here. Heading into this game, Wentz led the NFL with 48 fumbles since 2016. Once he successfully ducked under Young's sack attempt, HE HAS TO PROTECT THE FOOTBALL. Instead, he's still holding it with one hand and trying to escape the pocket, with a whole mess of defenders surrounding him. He's lucky that Jason Kelce was there to jump on the football.
This sack reminded me of a play in the Seahawks regular season game last year, in which Wentz sidestepped a defender, and then continued to look down the field with one hand on the ball, as if the defender wasn't going to get back up and continue to try to make a play.
Anyway, we'll put the sack on Peters, but Wentz's carelessness with the football is really just unacceptable at this point.
It's Richard Rodgers' job here to get enough of Montez Sweat to force his pass rush inside so Wentz can get out on a naked bootleg to the right. However, Sweat owns Rodgers at the point of contact, and he is able to cut off the boot action. Wentz tries a pump fake to get Sweat in the air, but Sweat isn't buying it, and what might have been a 3rd and 8 becomes a 3rd and 20.
That's on Rodgers, and credit Sweat with the excellent play. Some might say that Wentz should have thrown this away, however, in this case, (a) that's easier said than done, and (b) trying to make a play in space against one defender -- as opposed to trying to flee from an inescapable collapsing pocket -- isn't so egregious here.
On a side note, Sweat and the Football Team in general seemed ready for Wentz's duck under move to avoid sacks. Opponents are onto that.
Wentz holds it, and holds it, and holds it, until it's a loss of 13 yards. Once he bounced off of Nate Herbig, that's it. End of play. Get rid of it and salvage the field goal. Instead, he retreats an extra five yards and gets tracked down by three defenders.
And if you'll recall, Jake Elliott was short on a 53-yard field goal attempt on the next play.
That one is on Wentz.
It's 4th and 4, and the Football Team is sending Jon Bostic on a blitz up the middle. Doug Pederson placed blame on Boston Scott for not identifying the blitzing linebacker, and blocking him. That one is on him.
Here's a better look at what Scott should have seen.
Also, note that Bostic just runs right through Wentz instead of falling for his duck under move.
Corey Clement and Isaac Seumalo are tasked with double-teaming Kerrigan, and can't get the job done.
Ioannidis gets a step on Herbig, causing Wentz to move to his left, while Young and Da'Ron Payne collapse the pocket well enough that Wentz has nowhere to escape, and they swallow him up.
Down 10 with three minutes left, the Eagles were in desperation mode, so Wentz's urgency to make a play makes sense, but the result is still fumble No. 50 for his career.
It was sort of perfect storm of bad protection.
• The Eagles were starting a rookie at RT, and a guy with three career snaps at RG. While some of the mistakes in this game are correctable, they're more likely to continue when you're forced to play multiple inexperienced players.
• While players have every right to maximize their leverage when the opportunity arises, it is absolutely ridiculous that Peters was praised for moving to LT "for the good of the team," when he refused to play there until he got a bump in pay. Yes, there's the thinking that he can roll out of bed and play LT because he has done it for so long, but could he have used an extra week to prepare for the season at LT? I would say, probably? At a minimum, younger players could have used more reps with the first team at RG, where Peters practiced for a week while he was refusing to move to LT.
• In addition to being the best running back on the team as a runner and receiver, Miles Sanders is also the best back in pass protection. Personally, I hadn't considered that aspect when he was ruled out for this game on Saturday, but his absence was a factor in protecting Wentz.
• And finally, Wentz just won't let a plays die, despite repeatedly saying he needs to be smarter about when give up and either minimize the damage by taking the sack or throwing the ball away. Meanwhile, it doesn't seem as though anyone on the coaching staff is willing to kick him in the ass for it, like John DeFilippo was willing to do when he was Wentz's quarterback coach.