WENTZ IS BACK, BUT IT WAS DEFENSE THAT SAVED THE EAGLES, 20-16!

By Michael Donovan

It was a chilly and rainy day at the Linc.

And it was a sloppy game:

Twenty penalties called against the Eagles and the Colts.

But the Eagles survived to fight another day with a 2-1 record.

Carson Wentz threw a touchdown pass, Wendell Smallwood ran in from the 4 for the go-ahead score and the Eagles held on for a 20-16 victory over the Colts.

The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles (2-1) needed two defensive stops against Andrew Luck in the final 90 seconds.

Indy had a first down at the Eagles 11 and two cracks from the 4, but Luck’s pass to T.Y. Hilton sailed over his shoulder in the left corner of the end zone on third down and Derek Barnett sacked Luck on fourth down.

The Colts got the ball again at their 11 with 39 seconds remaining but couldn’t reach midfield. Jacoby Brissett threw a desperation pass on the final play that fell incomplete.

Playing his first game since he tore two ligaments in his left knee last Dec. 10, Wentz engineered the winning drive with precise passes and nifty moves. Wentz eluded a sack and threw a 10-yard pass to Nelson Agholor, who hurdled for a first down on third-and-9 to extend the drive at the Colts 26.

Four plays later, Smallwood scored to make it 20-16.

Fans welcomed back Wentz with a standing ovation when he ran through the tunnel during introductions.

On a wet, soggy field, Wentz showed no rust at the start. He misfired on his first pass, then connected over the middle to Zach Ertz and kept going. Running a no-huddle offense, Wentz drove the Eagles 79 yards in 12 plays and capped it with a 13-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert for a 7-0 lead.

But the offense couldn’t get much going until the fourth quarter. Wentz nearly gave the Colts the game.

First, he stared down Ertz and floated a pass that was picked by Anthony Walker and returned to the Eagles 16. But the Colts only managed a 31-yarder by Vinatieri that gave them a 13-10 lead.

After Jake Elliott answered with a 24-yarder on the following drive, Margus Hunt knocked the ball out of Wentz’s hands and recovered the fumble at the Eagles 13. The Birds’ defense again held and Vinatieri made a 28-yard field goal to give Indianapolis a 16-13 lead.

Luck threw a 5-yard TD pass to Ryan Grant to tie it 7-7 after Elliott missed a 55-yard field goal wide left.

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