Eagles’ defensive end Fletcher Cox was reportedly a game time decision, and the fact that he was active was huge. His hit on Newton caused an interception, and he was a disruptive force the entire night for a defense that held Carolina to 80- rushing yards.
By Michael Donovan
Say what you will about Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense.
Last night’s victory in Carolina was driven by the defense.
Twice, interceptions not of quarterback Cam Newton’s making gave the Eagles a short field, and the Birds took advantage.
First, Newton was intercepted by Rasul Douglas on a pass that ballooned after Newton was hit by Fletcher Cox.
Two plays later, Luke Kuechly was injured. And five plays after that, the Eagles tied it on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz in the back of the end zone.
With 14:07 to play in the second half, Newton was intercepted again, this time when Jonathan Stewart mishandled a pass and Patrick Robinson intercepted. Two plays later, Wentz found Ertz for another touchdown, this time from 17 yards out.
After an illegal formation by the Panthers, who lined up over the center on the extra point, the Eagles elected to go for two points, and took an 18-10 lead on LeGarrette Blount’s 1-yard run.
Aided by a 40-yard penalty for pass interference, the Panthers drove to the Eagles’ 2 before stalling, and Graham Gano was good from 20 yards, cutting Philadelphia’s lead to 18-13.
A 48-yard field goal by Jake Elliott stretched the Eagles lead back to eight, 21-13, with 8:02 to play in the third quarter.
Panthers kicker Graham Gano’s answer from 46 yards cut the lead to 21-16.
But Wentz’s third touchdown pass of the game, 24 yards to Nelson Agholor on the first play of the fourth quarter, made it 28-16.
Wentz, sacked three times in the first half but none after halftime, was 16 of 30 for 222 yards and three touchdowns.
Newton finished 28 of 52 for 239 yards, the touchdown to McCaffrey and three interceptions.
The Panthers (4-2) and Eagles (5-1) were tied for the best record in the NFC with the Green Bay Packers entering the game.