Carson Wentz’s twisted nightmare of injury issues only gained more fuel on Sunday evening at Lincoln Financial Field.
In his first-ever playoff start — following two previous seasons that ended prematurely due to health issues — Wentz was forced to scramble out of the pocket during the Eagles’ second possession of the game when he was hit in the back of the head and shoulders while falling by a diving Jadeveon Clowney.
There was no flag on the play, but a debate has since been fueled over the cleanliness of the hit.
Some believed Wentz was giving himself up and Clowney’s hit was an unnecessary one. Others are just chalking it up to a football play.
“I checked Clowney about it,” Eagles guard Jason Peters said after the game. “He was mouthing, I was mouthing back at him… I just told him, ‘ Man, that’s a dirty play.’ And he’s like, ‘My bad,’ and we just kept playing.”
“It was a bang-bang play,” Clowney said. “I don’t intend to hurt anybody in this league, let me just put that out there… I was just playing fast.”
This is nothing new for the Seahawks’ star defender, who was fined $40,110 by the NFL last season for a Week 16 hit he put on former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
Yet, Clowney continued to cement his place as a villain in Philadelphia sports lore, calling Eagles supporters “the worst fans in the world.”
Wentz’s head smacked the Philadelphia turf, forcing him to visit the blue medical tent on the sidelines for initial evaluations. With two minutes remaining in the quarter, Wentz walked to the locker room in what signaled the end of his day and season. With 40-year-old Josh McCown forced under center, the Eagles came up short 17-9 to the Seahawks for a swift playoff exit.
All those late-game heroics down the stretch, all the feel-good stories about no-names like Boston Scott and Greg Ward stepping up to wrench an NFC East title away from the Dallas Cowboys, all for a Wild Card exit.
Disappointing? Sure, but what can you do when a team is decimated by injuries to the point of practice-squad players getting key snaps?
Yet all of that disappeared the moment Wentz made his way to the locker room, prompting reporters, analysts, and keyboard warriors to rehash the tiresome narrative that Wentz can’t stay healthy.
The problem with that line of thinking is that Sunday evening’s events don’t fit that bill. Anyone suggesting that it does is taking the lazy route.
It’s one thing to say it when Wentz tore his ACL in 2017 or suffered back problems last year. I’ll begrudgingly give you that even though I still think labeling someone playing a violent game like football soft after suffering significant injuries is irresponsible.
However, when a 6-foot-5, 255-pound wrecking ball of a defensive end drives his body weight on top of the head and shoulder area of an unsuspecting quarterback, I have a hard time making this about a “Wentz’s health” thing.
No, at this point, it’s just bad luck for a young quarterback who is trying to build a legacy under heavy expectations in a rabid sports town.