The Eagles needed two scores. Carson Wentz delivered two scores. But ultimately, they weren't enough. Doug Pederson elected to go for two after the Eagles came within a point of the Ravens, and while Wentz shared some of the blame for the failed conversion, the result shouldn't take away from the quarterback's fourth-quarter performance.
Under different circumstances, Pederson would have likely kicked the extra point and taken his chances in overtime. But the Eagles' season at this point - and, really, for most of the year - is more about Wentz and the future. And Sunday was another opportunity for the rookie to cash in with a comeback.
He came up short - again - and that is the bottom line. But Wentz still showed progress in those final two drives. So the Eagles' 27-26 loss in Baltimore will carry an asterisk for the quarterback and could, if he starts getting over the hump in the final two games of the season or next year sometime, be looked back upon as a turning point.
"He was poised in the pocket. He was communicating in a loud stadium, loud environment, weather," Pederson said Monday. "Everything . . . was kind of against the offense because we were going into that wind."
The Eagles are 0-6 in games decided by seven points or fewer. In each of those games, the offense got the ball with less than five minutes remaining and a chance to at least tie. Wentz failed on each occasion, but he displayed incremental growth taken as a whole.
In Detroit, he went deep on the first play and threw an ill-fated interception. The following week in Washington, he advanced the Eagles into Redskins territory but held the ball too long and took two sacks.
Two weeks later, he had two opportunities to break a tie with the Cowboys but went three-and-out on each occasion. A turnover gave the Eagles possession in New York Giants territory in the next game, and Wentz completed a pass that had the Eagles 17 yards from the end zone, but he tossed four straight incompletions to end the game.
He was excellent last week against the Redskins and drove the Eagles 61 yards on nine plays to the 14-yard line. But Wentz was sacked and fumbled when Ryan Kerrigan got around a gimpy Matt Tobin. And on Sunday, after the Eagles kicked a field goal to trim the Ravens' lead to seven, Wentz marched the offense 59 yards on nine plays and capped the series with a 4-yard touchdown run with four ticks still on the clock.
"It seems like all of our games have been like that," Wentz said after the game. "It seems like it comes down to one or two plays every game. This time, that play came at the end."
Wentz connected on only 3 of 7 passes for 37 yards during the final series, but the numbers don't tell the full story. After hitting Jordan Matthews for 8 yards, Wentz threaded a downfield pass to Nelson Agholor that would have been a difficult grab but still went through the receiver's hands.
But the quarterback bounced back and found Matthews over the middle for 5 yards on third down. Wentz shook off a rusher on the next play - something he did twice earlier in the game - and escaped outside before throwing the ball away. He tried again for Agholor a play later, but the pass was broken up, in part because the receiver didn't come back for the ball.
Wentz's best throw of the day, though, came when he lofted a 24-yard strike to tight end Zach Ertz on the ensuing play. Ertz dragged his feet and the Eagles were 17 yards from pay dirt. Two plays later, facing a zero blitz, Wentz heaved a pass toward the end zone, where Agholor had beaten his man. But the receiver was interfered with and a penalty had the Eagles at the Ravens' 4.
After a failed fade pass to Matthews, Wentz took matters into his own hands. He spun out of the pocket away from pressure, made the decision to run, gave safety Eric Weddle a shake, and plunged over the goal line for his second rushing touchdown of the season.
"I just took it myself," Wentz said. "I just wanted to find a way to get the ball in there."
Agree or disagree with Pederson's decision to go for two, or even with the personnel on the field, he called a play that gave the Eagles a chance to be successful against a zero blitz. Matthews had a half-step as he slanted, but Wentz's pass was tipped.
As well as he played on the final two drives, Wentz struggled for most of the first three quarters. He tossed an interception off his back foot on the Eagles' first drive. He took a sack and fumbled out of bounds when he held the ball too long. He fumbled a snap. And he had two passes tipped.
They are issues, including his tendency to sail passes when pressured, that haven't really gone away all season. But Wentz was also facing one of the NFL's top defenses on the road and in difficult conditions. The downfield passing game was nonexistent as rain fell and wind swirled.
And what also hasn't gone away are outside receivers unable to either get open or make plays on the ball. Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham played 98 and 61 percent of the plays, respectively, and finished with just a combined two catches for 20 yards.
Despite those two liabilities, Wentz was able to engineer two late scoring drives. They weren't enough, but they showed that he is moving in the right direction.
"The growth factor for me has been huge," Wentz said. "My opportunity came much quicker than I thought it would."
He still has two games of learning left.