Wentz’s 4 TD passes help Eagles rout Cardinals
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles started fast and never let up.
That simple formula led to a dominating victory, their fourth in five games, and proved that this young team is growing up quickly.
Quarterback Carson Wentz threw a career-high four touchdown passes as the Eagles rolled to their third straight win with a 34-7 defeat of the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles improved to 4-1 while the Cardinals fell to 2-3.
“To come out swinging the way we did and to get this building going was fun,” Wentz said. “That’s the way we like it.”
Wentz was 21 of 30 for 304 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He had never thrown more than two touchdowns in any previous game.
“I think I threw five in a college game,” Wentz quipped.
On third-and-19 from their own 28-yard line, Wentz lofted a long pass to Nelson Agholor, who proceeded to work his way past free safety Budda Baker and into the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown reception with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter for a commanding 31-7 lead.
“It feels great to keep contributing,” said Agholor, who had four catches for 93 yards. “I’m playing with a lot of confidence. I believe in myself and the guys believe in me, too. I’m going to keep working every day. It’s fun to see the results of the hard work.”
The Cardinals had trouble all day finding any rhythm with their offense.
“It’s a very disappointing loss,” said Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. “We never got it going and we were never really in it. They jumped out to an early lead and we couldn’t do anything on offense. We got way too far behind against a good defense to mount a comeback.”
Palmer was 28 of 44 for 291 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had six catches for 51 yards, though some of the yardage came late in the game.
“We have to stay out of the third-and-longs, obviously,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said. “You’re not going to win too many third-and-15s against a defense like that. We’ll have to look at what we’re doing again and who is doing it. At times, we looked good and at times, we looked pitiful.”
Fitzgerald became the third player in NFL history to catch a pass in 200 consecutive games. Jerry Rice (274) and Tony Gonzalez (211) are the others.
Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott hit a late 28-yard field goal to extend the lead to 34-7. It was Elliott’s seventh straight field goal.
Wentz’s third touchdown pass was delivered to Torrey Smith, a 59-yard catch and run for a 21-0 lead with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
“I talk every week about starting fast,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said.
On the Eagles’ first drive, Wentz capped a 10-play, 54-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Trey Burton in the corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
After forcing the Cardinals to punt, Kenjon Barner sparked the Eagles with a dazzling 76-yard return.
From there, the Eagles struck quickly as tight end Zach Ertz nabbed an 11-yard touchdown from Wentz for a two-touchdown advantage.
“We’re all on the same page on offense,” Ertz said. “Things are really starting to click. We’re far from perfect, but we’re pushing ahead at a great pace.”
Palmer did push the Cardinals within 21-7 with a 13-yard pass to John Brown with 11:42 left in the second quarter.
Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson had a 51-yard field goal blocked by Patrick Robinson on the final play of the first half.
NOTES: The Eagles were short-handed without DT Fletcher Cox (calf) and RB Wendell Smallwood (knee). Undrafted free agent RB Corey Clement split time in the backfield primarily with LeGarrette Blount. ... Eagles RT Lane Johnson left with a head injury in the third quarter and didn’t return. ... Haason Reddick started in place of OLB Markus Golden for the Cardinals. Reddick was a star at nearby Temple and was drafted No. 13 overall in the first round by Arizona. ... The Eagles have outscored teams 41-3 in the first quarter this season. ... Cardinals LS Aaron Brewer (arm) left the game in the first quarter. ... Eagles DE Vinny Curry recorded his first sack of the season. ... The Cardinals have allowed 19 sacks through five games. ... Philadelphia faces a short turnaround with a Thursday night matchup at Carolina. ... Arizona will host Tampa Bay next Sunday.