KANSAS CITY — A tie game on the road with 10 minutes to go against a team that everybody but your wife and kids expected to clean your clock.
This was why the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz. For days and games like these. But Wentz still is a pup playing in a flawed offense with no run game. So, you’re going to have to wait a little while longer for him to perform any Brady-like fourth-quarter magic.
Instead of leading the Eagles to an unexpected victory, he contributed to a fourth-quarter collapse in their 27-20 loss to the Chiefs, throwing a third-down pass off the helmet of linebacker Justin Houston that was intercepted by defensive end Chris Jones and set up the Chiefs’ go-ahead touchdown.
Wentz was trying to throw the ball away after realizing a third-and-12 screen pass to Darren Sproles, like most of the screens the Eagles have tried to run in their first two games, was doomed to failure.
It was at least the third deflected pass Wentz threw Sunday. On the play immediately before the interception, he had another pass for tight end Zach Ertz deflected.
“They did a good job of getting their hands up all day in the passing game,’’ Ertz said. “They’d stop the rush inside and just get their hands up and try to deflect balls. I think I had two balls that were deflected that I was targeted for.
“That sucks. But we’ll be better. Carson will be better. The line will be better. I didn’t have a great game. I’m going to be excited to go to work this week [getting ready for the Giants].’’
Wentz didn’t play awful on Sunday, particularly when you consider that he was forced to play with one arm tied behind his back because of a run game that has been invisible the first two weeks of the season.
Fifty-six of the Eagles’ 69 offensive plays against the Chiefs were pass plays. Wentz was 25-for-46 for 333 yards and two touchdowns, and had a career-high 55 rushing yards on four fourth-quarter scrambles. But he also was sacked six times, several of which he was at least partially to blame because he held onto the ball too long.
“That’s part of it,’’ Wentz admitted. “There’s big plays to be made. Sometimes I’m scrambling and there’s going to be sacks when you hold onto it.
“It’s going to be a constant thing every week trying to know when’s the right time [to get rid of the ball]. You just have to find the right balance.’’
A week after completing nine of 11 third-down passes, including eight for first downs, Wentz was 6-for-12 with an interception on third down against the Chiefs.
But that includes a 3-for-3 third-down finish after the Eagles had fallen behind 27-13 and the Chiefs essentially were playing a prevent defense.
For the second straight week, the Eagles found themselves in too many third-and-longs. Twelve of their 15 third-down situations Sunday were 7 yards or more.
“First of all, that is a good defense,’’ Wentz said after the game. “That is a good defensive line.
“Second of all, I have to go watch the tape. I thought our offensive line, I thought they played well. I don’t know what the numbers were or the number of sacks, but I was holding onto the ball for a while.’’
The main reason Wentz was holding onto the ball was that his receivers were frequently having difficulty getting open.
While he connected on some big plays with wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (seven catches for 92 yards and one TD), Torrey Smith (4-66) and Mack Hollins (3-32) and tight end Zach Ertz (5-97), the Chiefs cracked down when the Eagles got close to the end zone.
And 53 of Ertz’s 97 receiving yards came on a play late in the first half that should have been another Wentz interception but instead clanged off Chiefs safety Terrance Mitchell’s hands right into Ertz’s mitts as he was running down the sideline.
The Eagles converted just two of five red-zone opportunities into touchdowns.
Eagles running backs had just 13 carries Sunday, 10 by Sproles, who rushed for a respectable 48 yards. In the first two games, 101 of the Eagles’ 134 offensive plays have been pass plays. That’s an astounding 75.4 percent. That’s no way to run an NFL offense. And it’s no way to develop a young quarterback.
“Yeah, it is hard,’’ head coach and play-caller Doug Pederson said. “It is tough to always rely on the throw. But listen, we’re all in this together. We will evaluate the film. We will go back and roll our sleeves up and get it corrected and we will make sure that the next time out we do a better job in that area.’’
Wentz attempted 607 passes as a rookie. That was the fifth most in the league. Through two games, he’s on pace for 680 this season.
“Obviously, more balance usually is the way to go,’’ Wentz said. “But it’s the nature of this game. The way they were playing some things, and some things we thought we could take advantage of, that kind of led us down that road [to throw the ball a lot].
“Then, late in the game, we’re obviously throwing on every down. That always sways things a little bit.’’
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