For the first time all season, the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t win pretty. On the road against a team like the Carolina Panthers, though, Doug Pederson and company surely don’t mind a lack of style points en route to victory.
The Eagles beat the Panthers, 28-23, on Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium, becoming the second team in football to reach five wins. Cam Newton was wildly inconsistent all night despite several “wow” plays, throwing for 239 yards and three interceptions while competing 26 of his 52 career-high passing attempts. The former MVP had rushing and passing touchdowns, too, the latter of which went to Christian McCaffrey.
The Eagles deserve immense credit for causing Newton’s struggles. Philadelphia’s pass rush was relentless from the opening kickoff, hitting Newton nine times. The team also dropped a couple more surefire interceptions – missed opportunities that would have prevented the Panthers from a last-ditch chance to steal a win. Newton’s erratic night continued on his team’s final drive with the fourth-quarter clock winding down, though, as his pass to an open McCaffrey on 4th and 1 hit the ground.
Carson Wentz barely completed half of his 30 throws, but made the ones that found receivers count. The sophomore signal caller finished with 222 yards and three passing touchdowns, further staking his claim as a legitimate MVP candidate. Both of Zach Ertz’s catches went for scores. Mychal Kendricks had 17 tackles for the Eagles’ defense, while Fletcher Cox garnered half a sack and two QB hits, in addition to causing an interception by driving a Panthers offensive lineman back into Newton as he threw.
Carolina’s loss was bigger than standings, too. Star linebacker Luke Kuechly left the game in the second quarter after taking a hit above the shoulders and never returned. The team announced just after halftime that he was going through the concussion protocol.
Philadelphia, 5-1, next plays a week from Monday at home against the Washington Redskins. Good thing, too – the Eagles will need ample time to recover after a short week yielded their grittiest victory of the season.