- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2022

LANDOVER — He was booed on the first snap of the game. There were cheers after he was sacked a few plays later. Carson Wentz was technically starting on his home field, but it sure didn’t sound like it. Not with the thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans on hand at FedEx Field to root against him. 

Wentz was facing for the first time a team that had discarded him with a chance to make them pay. 

But the Washington Commanders’ big offseason acquisition was consistently under duress and struggled to complete passes in a dismal 24-8 loss Sunday to the now NFC East leaders. The Commanders fell to 1-2 while the Eagles, at 3-0, look like an early-season Super Bowl favorite.

Wentz finished with just 211 yards on 25 of 43 passing. More concerning for the Commanders, he was sacked nine times — the most of Wentz’s seven-year career. 

As in last week’s loss in Detroit, Washington came out flat — worse than flat, arguably. Wentz was sacked four times in the first quarter alone, six by halftime. The Commanders were without starting center Chase Roullier (knee), and the Eagles exploited the weakness in the interior of the offensive line. Wentz fumbled twice because of the pressure, recovering one. 

It was a familiar sight to any Eagles fan who watched Wentz in 2020 — the quarterback’s final season with Philadelphia, when he was statistically one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. That year, the Eagles benched a struggling Wentz in December for second-rounder Jalen Hurts. The swap effectively ended Wentz’s five-season tenure with the Eagles as he was traded to Indianapolis months later. 

The Eagles stuck with Hurts and haven’t looked back.

Entering this weekend’s action, the Hurts-led Eagles were ranked as the league’s best offense. And Washington did little to slow them down. 

Explosive plays again proved to be a problem for Washington. In Detroit, the Commanders gave up six plays of at least 20 yards. On Sunday, Hurts hit receivers DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown on multiple bombs. 

The long connections helped swing the contest in the second quarter. The Eagles scored all 24 of their points over that span, with Hurts completing 14 of 19 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns. The first touchdown came when Hurts found Dallas Goedert on a tight end screen that went all the way for 23 yards, giving Philadelphia a 10-0 lead. 

The most embarrassing sequence for Washington came just before halftime. With time ticking down — and with no timeouts — Philadelphia snapped the ball with just three seconds left — just enough time for Hurts to find Smith on a perfect ball over cornerback Kendall Fuller for another touchdown. 

By the end of the half, the contingent of Washington fans in the stadium made themselves loud enough to boo the home team as the group headed into the locker room. The Commanders, as a team, had a total of -16 passing yards. 

This week, there would be no offensive resurgence in the second half. Washington was able to move the ball more effectively, but still bungled enough opportunities to prevent a rally from ever taking place. Near the beginning of the fourth quarter, for instance, Wentz and Co. drove all the way down to Philadelphia’s 1-yard line — only to turn it over on downs. 

It was then up to defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s unit to get the Commanders’ first points of the day. With the Eagles backed up, Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne wrapped up Hurts in the end zone. 

Wentz did lead one touchdown drive late in the fourth, engineering a 12-play, 87-yard series that culminated with a 1-yard score from running back Antonio Gibson with 1:55 left. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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