If the Eagles haven’t found rock bottom, they’re awfully close.
A false-start penalty by offensive lineman Matt Pryor on a potential game-winning field goal attempt with 19 seconds left in overtime destroyed any chance of the Eagles pulling out an overtime victory, settling instead for a 23-23 tie with the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.
The Eagles (0-2-1) trailed 23-16 with three minutes remaining before Carson Wentz salvaged a difficult day, leading his team on an 11-play, 75-yard drive in 2:44 to tie the game with a seven-yard scoring scramble.
He threw another pair of interceptions and was soundly outdueled by rookie sensation and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow on the stat sheet, yet the fifth-year quarterback did just enough to ensure the Eagles did not start a season 0-3 for the first time since 1999.
Regardless, the unsettling interception issue for Wentz continues to grow week-by-week. After throwing just seven interceptions last season, he already has six through his first three games of the season.
He completed 29-of-47 passes on the day for 225 yards, one touchdown, and those two costly interceptions while Burrow starred, posting a pair of touchdowns to Tee Higgins on 312 yards.
Wentz’s troubling turnover trend continued almost immediately on Sunday afternoon as the Eagles’ opening drive that worked its way near midfield was cut short by his fifth interception of the season.
Looking for DeSean Jackson inside Bengals territory, Wentz’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage into the arms of linebacker Logan Wilson.
While the Bengals missed out on the short field, the Eagles matched the visitors with their lack of killer instinct.
Driving down to the three-yard-line at the end of the first quarter, Wentz was sacked on a 3rd-&-Goal, forcing the Eagles to settle for a field goal.
Meanwhile, the Eagles defense gave Burrow and the Bengals practically nothing, forcing punts on Cincinnati’s first four possessions of the afternoon.
But an ability to flip the field offered the Bengals hope and a way back into the game when Wentz and Co. went 3-and-out on their own 19-yard-line. The ensuing punt was returned 19 yards by Alex Erickson and gifted another 15 yards by a Corey Clement unnecessary roughness penalty that bumped the Bengals up to Philadelphia’s 38-yard-line.
They only gained eight yards on the drive, but it resulted in a field goal to tie the game with 7:37 remaining in the half.
The Eagles answered with a 10-play, 51-yard drive that featured a 24-yard Wentz scramble, resulting in Jake Elliott’s second field goal of the day from 42 yards out. But Burrow finally broke loose to grab the Bengals a lead out of nothing in the final minutes of the half.
Burrow racked up 56 of his team’s 75 yards on their scoring drive, ending with a one-yard connection to Tee Higgins with 1:29 remaining. Heading into that scoring drive, the Bengals were limited to just 54 yards of offense.
Not to be outdone, Wentz finally got cooking in the two-minute offense and punched right back to take a lead heading into the break.
Utilizing the no-huddle system, Wentz reeled off four-straight completions around a regained fumble following a sack, to hit Greg Ward for a 26-yard touchdown down the right sideline with 21 seconds to go to take a 13-10 lead.
Elliott knocked home a 54-yard field goal to extend the Eagles’ lead to six midway through the third quarter, but the Eagles found themselves trailing going into the fourth when Burrow hit Higgins for a second time in the end zone, this time from four yards out. It capped off a 10-play, 76-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes that featured Burrow accruing every inch while going 7-for-7.
While Burrow thrived, Wentz shrunk. He cut the Eagles’ ensuing drive short when his pass intended for Zach Ertz was intercepted by LeShaun Sims at the Eagles’ 44-yard-line.
Cincinnati’s drive stalled at the 13-yard-line, but a chip-shot field goal put the Bengals up four, five seconds into the final frame. They’d add one more with 3:07 to go after Burrow unleashed an 81-yard drive that ate up another seven minutes.
After three-straight punts to start overtime, the Eagles drove inside Bengals territory, but a holding penalty killed any sort of momentum, leading to another punt inside three minutes remaining in overtime.
Philadelphia’s defense made one last push, sacking Burrow twice to push the Bengals back to their own seven-yard-line. It gifted the Eagles with their best field position of overtime, taking over possession at their own 44-yard-line with 1:47 left.
They still couldn’t find a way to put points on the board despite driving down to the Bengals’ 41-yard-line and getting the field-goal unit out, but Pryor’s penalty wiped away any conceivable chance of trying a game-winning kick with 19 seconds to go.