If you were lucky enough to watch Sunday's debacle of a football game, you were able to see the Eagles offense start off with a fantastic drive that was about to turn into a touchdown before Miles Sanders fumbled the ball away. Even with that unfortunate play, it felt like the offensive gameplan was looking good and the offense would be fine the rest of the game. Boy was that wishful thinking.....
Everything changed when the Eagles were driving into Browns territory at the start of the second quarter. On a play-action pass, Carson Wentz looked for a target downfield but ultimately tried checking the ball down to Miles Sanders out of the backfield. The play resulted in a pick-six that ultimately decided the game, as the Eagles suffered a five-point defeat (22-17).
Immediately after the play, fans put the blame solely on Wentz for the poor throw and also for not finding a "wide open" Jalen Reagor at the top of the TV screen. Fans even took screenshots to show how open Reagor appeared to be.
Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith responded to those calling out Wentz by pointing out the details of the play and the route run by Reagor. Smith claims there would have been a good probability that Wentz would have been picked off anyway if he threw it to Reagor on the play.
If you want to torture yourself by rewatching the play, it does seem like Wentz's checkdown to Sanders was the smart play. Sanders was about to get into the openfield with just one man pursuing him, which would have resulted in some sort of positive gain, maybe even a first down.
Ultimately, most of the blame for this disaster of a play should fall on Richard Rodgers. Rodgers was staying in on the play to help protect Wentz from any blitzing linebacker. Unfortunately, Rodgers kept his head turned inside the entire play, completely missing the delayed corner blitz from Denzel Ward, who hit Wentz as he threw and caused the ball to be a floater in the air for Sione Takitaki to grab and take to the house. If Rodgers is able to get a hand on Ward for just a split second, Wentz's pass to Sanders would have been clean.
You can still blame Wentz (slightly) for being slow in his reads if you want to, but even a former Eagle doesn't think #11 is fully at fault for this game-changing play. Wentz's second interception late in the fourth quarter though....that's a whole different story....