Carson Wentz’s first playoff game ended in tragedy after a controversial hit by defender Jadeveon Clowney knocked him out of the action during the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Eagles fans are well aware of Wentz’s past struggles with injuries. As my colleague Jeff McLane wrote, “it’s hard to fault the quarterback for his latest setback.” After all, it was a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Clowney (who denied intentionally trying to injure the young quarterback) that forced Wentz out of the game.
Unfortunately, several NFL pundits and reporters weren’t quick enough to make that same distinction.
ESPN NFL insider Josina Anderson, no stranger to Eagles fans thanks to her many reports involving an anonymous Birds player, was among those who drew the ire of fans. After former Rams wide receiver Torry Holt posted a negative comment about Wentz, which he has since deleted, Josina responded with, “I hear your Torry …”
Among those upset over Anderson’s tweet was retired Eagles defender Chris Long, who criticized her for going after a player and former teammate after suffering a head injury.
Anderson didn’t apologize for her tweet, but she did attempt to clarify what she meant.
“My response in saying ‘I hear you’ was just acknowledging his comment which I took as Wentz going through it often,” Anderson wrote.
At least Anderson was willing to ask Clowney about his hit on Wentz following the game on ESPN, something NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya failed to do during her postgame interview. She wasn’t alone — neither Al Michaels nor Cris Collinsworth spoke much about the controversial hit during the broadcast, leading longtime New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica to joke on Twitter he “started to get the idea that Wentz knocked himself out of that game.”
Tim McManus, who covers the Eagles for ESPN, offered a full-throated apology to Eagles fans upset over an initial version of his story that inadvertently linked Wentz’s concussion to past brushes with various injuries.
Pro Football Focus lead NFL analyst Sam Monson was also forced to apologize after writing on Twitter that Wentz was “made of glass” after being forced him out of the game.
“This was a bad attempt at humor posted before it became clear he was seriously concussed,” Monson wrote, noting that he wasn’t going to delete the Tweet to try to hide his mistake. “I’ll do better.”
Monson’s apology didn’t impress Jimmy Kempski, a former Inquirer writer who covers the Eagles for Philly Voice.
Of course, some of the bad takes came from former players looking to make a name for themselves by riling up Eagles fans on social media. Former wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who is now a sports talker at 104.3 The Fan in Denver, spent all night spiking the football on Wentz, calling him “unreliable." Former quarterback and ex-ESPNer Danny Kanell echoed Stokely’s thoughts by suggesting that Wentz might not be built to play in the NFL.
Kanell also attempted to clarify his thoughts after an onslaught of criticism from Eagles fans.
The takes were too much for ESPN analyst and outspoken Wentz defender Dan Orlovsky, who has spent weeks defending the young Eagles quarterback and his performance on the field.