Carson Wentz, his face reddening to nearly the shade of his hair as he tried to obscure another maddening loss with another positive spin, fled the postgame podium in a sprint.
Clearly, the Eagles quarterback was frustrated by his team’s second consecutive defeat – a 27-24 loss to Detroit Sunday that included fumbles, ill-timed penalties, and more dropped passes, including, for a second consecutive week, a certain touchdown.
And nowhere was that frustration more evident than in his answers.
Seven times during the seven-minute news conference that followed Philadelphia’s second loss in three games, Wentz used the word “frustrating.”
Once when he spoke of the last two Eagles drives, which in a game they trailed by just three points produced zero, he called it “really frustrating,” another time the barren series were “super frustrating.”
His words were the clearest indication of the disappointment that’s befallen this much- ballyhooed Eagles team, one that with a Thursday night date in Green Bay could soon be 1-3.
“Obviously,” said Wentz, “there’s a high urgency.”
Though Doug Pederson said he “played well, played tough,” Wentz wasn’t perfect. And perfect is what he needed to be in mistake-marred losses to Atlanta and Detroit.
He completed 19 of 36 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns and consistently avoided Detroit’s persistent three-man rush. But he probably contributed to his three sacks by holding the ball too long, and he failed to get the Eagles any points on the game’s last two drives, when they trailed by only three.
“The biggest thing for me is just having a chance to win at the end of the games and coming up short,” said Wentz. “It’s really frustrating. And it’s something I have to be better at. Hats off to Detroit, they did a good job throughout the game doing some things to throw us off. But we just didn’t get things done.”
Trailing 27-24, the Eagles got the ball at their 20 with 3:16 left. But Wentz could complete just one of three passes – a two-yarder to Nelson Agholor – and Philadelphia went three-and-out.
Then after Malcolm Jenkins’ blocked field goal got them the ball back at midfield with 1:39 to go and a timeout in his pocket, Wentz could manage just one five-yard completion in four attempts.
“I mean I love getting in the end zone,” he said. “We might have to go back and look at the tape. There were a lot of things going on within those plays … I’m going to take a really hard look and see where I can be better personally. Like I said earlier, it was super frustrating to have a shot like that and come up short.”
In fairness to Wentz, though, on that final drive a long completion to Darren Sproles was snuffed out by the day’s third offensive pass interference penalty. And his final throw of the afternoon was a ball J.J. Arcega-Whiteside probably should have caught inside the five.
“He was the third option on that play,” said Wentz of Arcega-Whiteside. “I just tried to give him a good shot. I wish I would’ve got the ball out there a little further. We just didn’t make the play.”
Wentz didn’t point fingers at teammates, of course. If he had, he might not have had enough.
After a week when dropped passes contributed to a defeat in Atlanta, the Eagles dropped seven more. In addition to Arcega-Whiteside’s miss, Agholor, who dropped a sure TD last week, dropped a pass and also fumbled. Tight end Dallas Goedert, wide open in the end zone, let a ball slip through his hands. Rookie running back Miles Sanders, who caught two balls for 73 yards, fumbled twice. And Mack Hollins twice negated big gains with offensive pass interference penalties.
“[Drops are] part of the game,” said Wentz. “Guys are going to drop passes. We’re going to put the ball on the ground. I’m going to throw picks. We’re going to miss reads. But any time somebody drops a pass … I make sure I go right up to them and tell them it’s coming their way the next time. Again it’s frustrating.”
And if the defense can’t come up with ways to reach the quarterback or create turnovers, the Eagles and Wentz can’t afford much more frustration.
It’s frustrating,” said Wentz. “It’s the National Football League and you don’t get multiple chances within each game … So it’s obviously frustrating. But you know we have a quick turnaround so we have to look hard at ourselves in the mirror.”