Carson Wentz had a 121.0 passer rating in Sunday’s win over Washington. It was his fifth highest passer rating in 42 career starts. His highest: 128.3 in a 34-7 win over Arizona in 2017. He was 21-for-30 for 304 yards, four TDs and one interception in that game.
Wentz was particularly impressive on third down against Washington, completing 12 of 13 passes for 199 of his 313 total passing yards and three touchdowns for a 158.3 passer rating. Nine of his 13 third-down pass attempts produced scores and/or first downs. His 51- and 53-yard TD bombs to DeSean Jackson both came on third-and-10 plays.
Wentz needed to be good on third down, because he struggled on first and second down against Washington. He had an 83.0 passer rating on first down (9-for-12 for just 53 yards, 0 TDs) and a 67.1 rating on second down (7-for-13 for 63 yards, 0 TDs).
Wentz was 17-for-22 for 252 yards and two touchdowns with “11’’ personnel (1RB, 1TE, 3WR) and 10-for-16 for 57 yards and one TD with “12’’ personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR). He was 1-for-1 for 4 yards with “21’’ personnel (2RB, 1TE, 2WR).
Sunday was the sixth time in his career that he’s thrown three or more touchdowns and no interceptions in a game.
Wentz averaged 9.2 air yards per attempt on 37 aimed throws against Washington (his other two attempts were a throwaway and a bat). Just two other quarterbacks averaged more air yards per throw in Week 1: Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (10.1) and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston (9.8). Wentz completed 2 of 5 throws of 20-plus air yards. Those were the two bombs to Jackson. His three 20-plus yard incompletions traveled 32 (to Nelson Agholor), 31 (to Dallas Goedert) and 26 (to Agholor) yards.
Wentz was 17-for-20 for 125 yards and 1 TD on air throws of 0-to-10 yards, 4-for-6 for 62 yards on throws of 11 to 19 yards and 5-for-6 for 22 yards on throws behind the line of scrimmage.
The Eagles converted two of three red-zone opportunities into touchdowns against Washington. Wentz was 3-for-3 for 18 yards and a touchdown in the red zone.
With the 51- and 53-yard touchdowns to Jackson, Wentz now has nine TD throws of 50 yards or more in his career.
Wentz had three rushing first downs, all on quarterback sneaks. He had just nine rushing first downs last season coming off his ACL injury, 27 in 2017 and 17 as a rookie in 2016.
Mixed bag on defense
The Eagles held Washington to 28 rushing yards on 13 carries. They didn’t allow a rushing first down. It’s the first time they held a team without a first down on the ground since November 27, 2008, in a 48-20 win over Arizona. That was the game in which Donovan McNabb threw four touchdown passes with a broken ankle.
Washington didn’t have a run of more than eight yards. Seven of their 13 attempts gained two yards or less.
Case Keenum threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. It was the sixth time since Jim Schwartz became the defensive coordinator that they gave up more than 350 passing yards and three or more touchdown passes in a game. They’re 3-3 when that’s happened. It happened three times last year (against Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Dallas), and they lost all three games. The previous two times were against the Giants in 2017. The Eagles won both of those games.
Jim Schwartz blitzed eight times on 46 pass plays (17.9%) against Washington. Keenum was 4-for-8 for 94 yards and 2 TDs when the Eagles defensive coordinator sent extra rushers. The Eagles rushed seven on Keenum’s 69-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Sent six on a first-and-10 incompletion in the third quarter right after Wentz’s 53-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson put the Eagles up, 21-20. McLaurin beat cornerback Sidney Jones badly on a deep route on the play, but Keenum overthrew him.
The Eagles gave up 15 passing first downs to Washington. They gave up 15 or more last year six times. The Eagles were 2-4 in those games.
Washington scored on each of its first three possessions. The Redskins averaged 10.4 yards per play on those three possessions. Last year, the Eagles defense gave up points on an opponent’s first three possessions just twice: in that ugly 48-7 Week 11 loss to the Saints, and a week later in a 25-22 Week 12 win against the Giants.
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This and that
The Eagles, who finished last in the league in first-quarter scoring last season (41 points), didn’t score in the first quarter against Washington.
Thirty-nine of the Eagles’ 71 offensive plays (54.9%) against Washington were run with “11” personnel. They used “12″ personnel 27 times, “21” personnel three times and “13” personnel two times. They ran the ball 16 times with “11” personnel and averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Ran it 11 times with "12” personnel and averaged 5.4 yards per carry.
The Eagles ran 29 plays on first down. Sixteen were run plays and 13 were pass plays. Miles Sanders had eight of the 16 rushing attempts (for 29 yards). Jordan Howard had four (for 21), Sproles had two (for 20) and Wentz and Alshon Jeffery each had one.
Checking in on DeSean Jackson
Overall, D-Jax had eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back with the Eagles. Six of his eight receptions (for 146 yards and both TDs) were on third down.
Jackson faced the Falcons three times in his two seasons in the NFC South with the Bucs in 2017-18. He was targeted a total of 21 times in those three games and had 13 catches for 141 yards (10.8 yards per catch) and no touchdowns.
Jackson’s peak speed on his 51-yard touchdown catch against Washington was 21.4 mph, according to the NFL’s NextGen stats. That was the third fastest speed by a player in Week 1, behind only Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who got up to 21.76 mph on a 59-yard run, and Tennessee cornerback Malcolm Butler, who reached 21.5 mph on a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown. Jackson also got up to 20.86 mph on his 53-yard touchdown catch.
Melting Matty Ice
In the Falcons’ three straight losses to the Eagles since 2016, Matt Ryan has a 73.1 passer rating, which is more than 21 points below his career average. He’s completed just 54.5 percent of his passes in those three games and thrown just two TD passes.
The Falcons converted just 10 of 39 third-down opportunities (25.6 percent) in their last three losses to the Eagles. Ryan has a 71.8 third-down passer rating in the losses.
Twenty-eight of the Falcons’ 39 third-down situations against the Eagles in the three losses were six yards or more.
Julio Jones, the Falcons’ six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, was targeted 51 times in the last three games against the Eagles. He had 29 catches for 405 yards (14.0 yards per catch). But he had just one touchdown. He had nine catches for 116 yards on third down. But those nine catches resulted in just two first downs.
In the last three games against the Eagles, Ryan has completed just 4 of 17 passes in the red zone. In the Falcons’ Week 1 loss to the Eagles last year, he was 1-for-9 for 3 yards with an interception in the red zone.