Wentz off to perfect start, but Eagles fall 24-9 to Packers
(AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Quarterback Carson Wentz had a perfect preseason debut for the Philadelphia Eagles under less than ideal conditions against the Green Bay Packers.
The ball was a little slick because of the humidity on Thursday night. Players on both sides were shaking off the rust in their first preseason game of the season.
But Wentz still managed to go 4 for 4 for 56 yards and a score on his first series, eluding a potential sack and burning the Packers on third and fourth downs in Philadelphia's 24-9 loss on Thursday night.
"I wouldn't say perfect, first of all," the second-year quarterback said. "We had a couple sloppy plays, but we stayed on the field."
And Wentz stayed out of trouble, doing his best impression of elusive Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was a healthy scratch.
The Packers' defense might need to keep working on tackling, though they're off to a good start in creating turnovers.
"Lot to learn from there ... I thought the work for us was excellent and we took a step tonight as a football team," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think all of us agree we've got a lot of work to do."
Philadelphia is looking to improve a pass offense that ranked 24th in the NFL last season.
Free agent addition Alshon Jeffery didn't play on Thursday. Nelson Agholor, who is having a good camp, didn't have a catch. But Wentz found rookie Mack Hollins, the team's fourth-round draft pick, for a 38-yard touchdown pass on third-and-13 with 6:33 left in the first quarter after the quarterback eluded rushing linebacker Clay Matthews' grasp.
"I thought his escapability was right on point," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said about the 6-foot-5 Wentz.
Cornerbacks Quinten Rollins and Kevin King each missed tackles as Hollins crossed right-to-left across the field on his way to the end zone. The Packers had problems at the cornerback position last season.
While no defender likes to miss a tackle, players on both teams were getting their first chances to tackle someone in another uniform after two weeks of camp.
"I think this is kind of a normal first night," McCarthy said.
The Eagles got off to a nice start against Green Bay's first-string defense, though they did turn the ball over three times in the second quarter with backup quarterback Matt McGloin behind center.
Wentz was done after his opening series, while backup Brett Hundley started at quarterback for Green Bay with Rodgers sitting out. Hundley picked up the pace after a sluggish start as the Packers defense started forcing turnovers.
Hundley pump-faked before finding Jeff Janis in stride down the right side of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 14-6 lead with 8:25 left in the second quarter. The Packers capitalized after cornerback LaDarius Gunter forced tight end Trey Burton to fumble at the Eagles 40.
Hundley finished 8 of 15 for 90 yards before sitting out the second half.
The Packers may have found a new threat in the return game in speedy second-year receiver Trevor Davis, who ran a punt back 68 yards in the second quarter for a touchdown. Davis also had a 26-yard punt return in the third quarter.
"I don't think I won a job or anything like that," Davis said. "I was just happy to help my team win."
Eagles: DE Derek Barnett, the 14th overall pick in the draft out of Tennessee, had two sacks in the first half.
"We've been practicing and we really couldn't hit the quarterback. So, we got the green light tonight, so it was fun to get back out there in a game situation and just play," Barnett said.
Packers: King, the team's second-round draft pick out of Washington, backed up his reputation as a physical cornerback with two hard open-field tackles in the second quarter. He was also credited with a forced fumble.
Packers rookie WR Malachi Dupre was taken off on a stretcher after fumbling on a reception following a hard hit to the chest by Eagles safety Tre Sullivan with 14:14 left in the game. The Packers said that Dupre had movement and feeling in his arms and legs. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and McCarthy said initial testing was positive.
CB Damarious Randall left in the first quarter with a concussion after getting blocked by Eagles WR Bryce Treggs. McCarthy said he did not have a good view of either it, but that the team would review them.
"I'm sure we'll react and handle things accordingly," McCarthy said.
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Updated August 11, 2017