PHILADELPHIA — All aboard the Wentz Wagon.
Carson Wentz aced his first tough test, and the Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.
Wins over the Browns and Bears were no fluke. The Eagles (3-0) proved they can compete with — and whip — the top teams.
Now they head into a bye atop the NFC East and suddenly looking like legitimate contenders in the conference.
“We view every week as a measuring stick,” Wentz said. “Everyone believes in each other.”
The rookie No. 2 overall pick threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, outplaying Ben Roethlisberger. He has zero turnovers in three games.
Roethlisberger had 257 yards passing, one interception and no TDs after tossing six in the first two games. The Steelers (2-1) averaged 31 points in the first two games before running into Philadelphia’s ferocious defense.
Some takeaways from the Battle of Pennsylvania:
BACKFIELD DEPTH: The 33-year-old Sproles still has plenty left. He caught six passes for 128 yards. Rookie Wendell Smallwood ran for 79 yards and his first career TD. Kenjon Barner had 42 yards rushing and his first score. Meanwhile, Ryan Mathews only carried twice for minus-5 yards.
REAL DEAL D: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s defense has been downright stingy. After shutting down Big Ben and the high-powered Steelers, the Eagles have allowed just two defensive TDs in three games. Players say there’s room for improvement. “It’s still early,” DE Brandon Graham said. “Everybody is still getting acclimated with the system.”
FIRST GAME JITTERS? Steelers WR Markus Wheaton had a forgettable return to the lineup after missing the first two games with a shoulder injury. He dropped a TD pass on the opening drive that was followed by a blocked field goal . Later, he dropped a catch that stalled a drive in the second quarter. Wheaton seemed dejected afterward, but Roethlisberger encouraged him. “We’re not going to get down on him,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s going to get down on himself more than he needs to, though. He knows he should and can make that play, but there’s a lot of thumb-pointing going on for us and it starts with me. We win as a team and we lose as a team and that was an offensive, defensive and special teams loss. I challenge all the players and even the coaches to look in the mirror and point the thumb.”
DRESS REHEARSAL? The Steelers will have one week to figure out what went wrong against the Eagles because they’re going to see a mirror image of this offense next week when they play Kansas City. Eagles coach Doug Pederson played for and coached under Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “We fully expect it to be similar next week,” DL Cameron Heyward said. “We have another test next week to prove we can beat it. We need to look at this film, address our concerns and be ready for Kansas City.”
CARSON’S STATS: Wentz joins Mark Sanchez (2009 with Jets) as the only rookie QBs to start and win their team’s first three games of the season since 1970. … Wentz is the first player in NFL history with at least 100 pass attempts, 60 completions, five TDs and zero INTs in his first three games.
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