Now, there is no slowing down the Wentz Wagon. As good as anyone projected he might play against an elite team like Pittsburgh on Sunday — well, Carson Wentz was five times better in the 34-3 win. Afterward, offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who had been lightly tapping the breaks on the hype machine, called his rookie “magical.”
Three games in, you draw comparisons to the best seasons ever enjoyed by rookie QBs — Dan Marino in 1983, Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, Robert Griffin III in 2012. Two, of course, went on to Hall of Fame careers. The third was derailed by injuries. If you knock on wood and free your mind of that injury fear, you just might envision that Wentz Wagon route traveling from Bismarck to South Philadelphia to — Canton?
OK, slow down. That’s way premature. For now, with the Eagles at 3-0 and two weeks to rub our eyes over the wonder if it all, the relevant question is: How far can they go in 2016?
And the answer, if I may be technical, is pretty damn far.
I could fill the rest of this space with adjectives about Wentz, but you saw it all for yourselves. There’s no doubt now that this magnificent rookie is the real thing.
Beyond Wentz, it is the Eagles defense that has been remarkable through three games. Against a first-rate Steelers offense Sunday, they had four sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. They allowed just 15 first downs and 29 rushing yards. By the second half, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley was reduced to calling dump-off passes because he knew his line could not protect the QB.
The cliche is that defense wins championships. Jim Schwartz’s invigorated unit is certainly sturdy enough to own the division. You remember the shambles he inherited from Chip Kelly and Billy Davis? That same unit, with only two key additions — safety Rodney McLeod and OLB Nigel Bradham — is now allowing just nine points and 274 yards per game.
Fletcher Cox is having an All-Pro season. Brandon Graham, seven years in the making, is finally excelling in a scheme that fits his strengths. Malcolm Jenkins is giving the Birds the best safety play they’ve had since Brian Dawkins.
Challenges lay ahead. Tackle Lane Johnson likely will miss the next 10 games, and no team wants to rejigger its offensive line on the fly. Also, after the coming bye, four of the next five games are on the road.
Still, why fear anything now? Did you watch the Giants and Washington wallow around in the muck of mediocrity earlier Sunday? Were you impressed? And can we agree that the Cowboys are chronically overrated?
Sunday’s game was the Eagles’ formal announcement that they are strong enough to win the division with a rookie QB and head coach. The invitations are out. Make sure you get your RSVP in the mail quickly. This bandwagon is taking off and running all the way into January.