LANDOVER, Md. — Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz spent a good portion of his day playing backyard-style football, on the run and in improv mode after the initial plan broke down. Sometimes he created art. Sometimes he created opportunities for the Washington Redskins. Whatever the outcome, just about every dropback was packed with drama.
The question that emerges, as the Eagles topped Washington in the opener 30-17 Sunday, is whether this helter-skelter offensive style is sustainable. Wentz took a lot of shots — Washington was credited with nine quarterback hits and two sacks — partly because the offensive line leaked at times and partly because Wentz held onto the ball to extend a play. The degree of difficulty went up when standout left tackle Jason Peters left late in the first half with a groin injury.
Wentz finished 26-of-39 for 307 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The second-year QB showed how effective he can be in that type of Wild West environment on the game’s initial drive, as he shook loose some would-be tacklers in the backfield, kept his eyes downfield and launched the ball deep to receiver Nelson Agholor, who raced in for a 58-yard touchdown. Wentz added some magic on a key field goal drive late in the game, escaping the grasp of linebacker Junior Galette as he rolled left before lofting a pass to tight end Zach Ertz down the sideline for a series-defining first down.
He also yielded a pick-six on a tipped pass intended for Ryan Kerrigan, was whistled for an intentional grounding and got away with a Brett Favre-like left-handed pass.
Much of the approach was out of necessity. The ground game generated 58 yards on 24 carries (2.4-yard average). With that element shut down, the Redskins were able to pin their ears back and attack No. 11.
Wentz did his part to make the most of the situation, helping his squad win its opener despite losing both Peters and cornerback Ronald Darby in the game. In order to make it through 15 more of these, though, a little more offensive balance and a bit less of the high-wire act probably is in order.