DETROIT - Five years from now, Carson Wentz will have a catalog of situations like the two he faced Sunday afternoon against the Detroit Lions and they will define him as a quarterback.
The great ones make their coaches, teammates and fans feel like they are never out of a game regardless of how glum the situation. The Hall of Famers get the football back at the end of a tight game and turn desperate times into victorious outcomes.
The Eagles' rookie quarterback batted .500 in that regard against the Lions, but his head coach and his teammates still felt as if their rookie quarterback had been special again during a 24-23 loss at Ford Field. They were right, too, even if Wentz did make the wrong decision at the end of the game.
"Yeah, there were some great throws that he made," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said when asked if he thought Wentz was as good in his first losing effort as he had been in three winning ones to open the season.
There sure were.
There was the second-and-25 improvisational throw to Jordan Matthews that set up a 50-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis at the end of the first half.
Wentz said it was a broken play and "that's when players make plays."
Except not every quarterback in the league can make the play he made.
There was also the quick-twitch release on the 1-yard touchdown throw to Josh Huff that got the Eagles within six points at the start of the second half.
"He's incredible in those situations," Pederson said. "It seems like when the pressure gets a little tighter, he shines a little brighter. It's special to have a kid like that, especially as a rookie."
Without Wentz, the Eagles might have been blown out of Detroit in the same manner they were a year ago on Thanksgiving. With him, they rallied from two 14-point deficits in the first half to eventually take a 23-21 lead on a Sturgis field goal with 6 minutes, 40 seconds remaining.
Wentz completed 25 of 33 passes for 238 yards and a couple of touchdowns. He also ran twice on designed plays for first downs. For the third time in four games, he finished with a passer rating above 100, checking out at 102.8.
The pass that will get the most attention, however, will be his final one because it landed in the arms of Detroit cornerback Darius Slay and allowed the Lions to run out the clock for the victory.
The interception not only ended the Eagles' hope of remaining unbeaten through four games, it also halted Wentz's streak of 134 attempts without throwing an interception to begin his NFL career.
Wentz was so poised through the first three games and the first 31/2 quarters of this one that you thought for sure he would be able to pull out a victory after running back Ryan Mathews had fumbled away the lead late in the game.
Down by a point, the Eagles had the ball on their 25-yard line with 1:28 to play. That was plenty of time to get into Sturgis' range, which was quite substantial based on his three earlier field goals.
"We looked around, everybody in the huddle looked real confident," Wentz said. "We've done it before in practice. We've repped it time and time again and we knew we had to make some plays."
Wentz, after seeing his first two options covered, decided to go for broke on a deep throw to Nelson Agholor. Slay couldn't believe it.
"I was surprised he even threw that," Slay said. "I was in great position, so I was like, 'OK.' But then I looked in the air and I said, 'Oh, the ball is coming for real. He's really throwing this. Oh well, it's time for his first career pick.' "
Pederson understood Wentz's thinking, but you got the feeling the coach would have preferred a different decision.
"It's not necessarily designed for that, but the opportunity was there," Pederson said. "Detroit did a nice job defending the first and second progression on the play and then you're hoping maybe you get the pass interference . . . or an incomplete pass. It's worth a shot."
Wentz was more upset about the pass than the decision.
"It wasn't a perfect throw," he said. "I tried to give Nelson a chance to make the play and I left it too far outside."
Agholor said he could have done a better job of going after the ball and praised his quarterback's body of work.
"Carson is always poised and ready to play football," Agholor said. "That's one thing that he's really good at and that's one thing we continue to try to feed off as a unit. It's our job to make plays for him and he's going to continue to give us the confidence we need at the quarterback position. He's already getting prepared to win the next one."
There is work to be done.
Playing on the road in a dome for the first time in his NFL career, Wentz twice failed to get plays off before delay-of-game penalties were called.
"The biggest thing is we shot ourselves in the foot too many times," Wentz said.
And still the Eagles had a shot at winning. Again, the rookie quarterback was a big reason why.