Beating the New England Patriots 41-33 in last season’s Super Bowl. Beating the now 11-3 Los Angeles Rams 30-23 last night. What do these two wins have in common? Both times the Philadelphia Eagles were without their starting QB Carson Wentz. Are the Eagles better without Wentz?
Heading into last night’s game against the then 11-2 Los Angeles Rams, the Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs. As is usually the case when a team is playing with their backup QB, that team isn’t given much of a chance to win. Not only were the Eagles playing with their backup QB last night, but they were a 6-7 team. A team who’s looked mediocre all season long.
The Philadelphia Eagles did not look mediocre last night. They looked like the team who won the Super Bowl last season. That’s because they were that team. When Carson Wentz went down with a leg injury last season, the Eagles were one of the best teams in the NFL. Despite their record, the loss of MVP candidate Carson Wentz put them as the underdogs in every single playoff game. As you know, that repetitive underdog status elevated the Eagles to Super Bowl champs.
Because the Eagles were one of the best teams in the NFL with Carson Wentz last season, it’s very likely they could have won the Super Bowl with him. However, when they didn’t have Wentz and everyone was doubting them, I saw them playing with a different desire and intensity. I’d argue the Eagles were better without Wentz last season because of it.
The intensity they played with throughout the playoffs last season, was the same intensity I saw from the Eagles in their game against the Rams last night. Their backs were against the wall and they were underdogs, yet they beat up one of the league’s best teams. Last night the Eagles were better without Wentz.
One thing you’ll want to look at to help answer this question, is the stats for each quarterback.
Carson Wentz vs Nick Foles
Looking at these stats is going to be a little different than normal. The reason for that is because Carson Wentz has played more games over the last two seasons than Nick Foles. Wentz has played 24 games, while Foles has played 10. It’s because of this that it would be unfair to compare how many TDs or yards each QB has thrown for. Instead, we’ll be looking at completion percentage, passing yards per game, TD percentage and passer rating. This will give us a more fair comparison between the two QBs. These stats are averages for both Wentz and Foles over the last two seasons.
Carson Wentz stats (24 games): 64.9% completions, an average of 266.5 passing yards per game, 6.4% TD percentage and a passer rating of 102.1.
Nick Foles stats (10 games): 62.7% completions, an average of 158.5 passing yards per game, 3.0% TD percentage and a passer rating of 80.7.
Are the Eagles better without Wentz? Based on the passing stats for each QB, we’re being told the Eagles aren’t better without him. Wentz has better averages in all four categories above than Foles. It’s pretty obvious Wentz is the better QB. Let’s also take a look at the records for both QBs as a starter over the past two seasons, playoffs included.
Carson Wentz record: 16-8
Nick Foles record: 7-2
It’s tough to say which QB has been better over the last two seasons as a starter because of the amount of games they’ve started. Wentz has started several more games than Foles over the last two seasons. If we’re just looking at winning percentage, Foles (77.8%) has been better for the Eagles than Wentz (66.7%). If one set of stats is telling us Wentz is better, but another set of stats is telling us Foles is better, how do we come to a conclusion? Well, it may not be about which QB is better.
Eagles better without Wentz?
I believe the Philadelphia Eagles have been better without Carson Wentz over the past two seasons. I’ll tell you why. Don’t get me wrong here, Nick Foles is not a better QB than Carson Wentz. The numbers obviously show Carson Wentz is a better QB, but a football team is more than a QB.
When Wentz has been out and Nick Foles has been in over the past two seasons, the Eagles have faced the underdog status more often than not. Their status as underdogs has seemed to elevate the play of everyone on the team. If you put Nick Foles and his 80.7 passer rating on a different team, the outcome of the games likely wouldn’t be a win for that team.
For whatever reason, the Philadelphia Eagles take their game to a new level when everyone doubts them. Without Carson Wentz, the secondary plays better, the defensive line plays better, the WRs play better and the RBs play better. Every position group plays better when Carson Wentz isn’t in the lineup. Some sort of power comes over the team when Carson Wentz isn’t available.
Can you imagine how good this team could have been this season if they played with the same intensity with Carson Wentz in? If only they could do that every game. For some reason, this team waits until they’re without arguably their best and most important player to turn things on. So are the Eagles better without Wentz? I’ll leave that up to your opinion, but it certainly has looked that way.