But his NFL playoff debut was cut short Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field after he suffered a first-quarter head injury. Without him, the Eagles made things interesting but exited the postseason quickly with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in a first-round NFC playoff matchup.
“I feel for him,” Eagles Coach Doug Pederson said. “I feel bad for him. … I’m disappointed for him because I wanted this for him, obviously, and I think a lot of his teammates did, too. And the team, the organization, did. He’s battled through a lot. But we’ll learn from it. We’ll move on.”
The fifth-seeded Seahawks advanced to a divisional-round game next weekend at Green Bay.
“It was fun, but it was scary at the same time,” said Seahawks rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf, who caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson as part of a seven-catch, 160-yard performance. “The way this season has been going as a team, I didn’t want this to be our last time playing football.”
The Seahawks had to play on the road despite having two more regular season wins than the Eagles. Seattle was a wild-card team after it fell inches shy of a go-ahead touchdown in the closing moments against the San Francisco 49ers a week earlier in a game in which a victory would have clinched the NFC West crown. The fourth-seeded Eagles, as a division winner, were guaranteed a postseason home game under a playoff format the NFL has no intention of ditching.
But the Seahawks went 7-1 on the road during the regular season, including a triumph in Philadelphia in November. And they kept winning away from home.
Tailback Marshawn Lynch, in his second game back with the Seahawks after being lured out of retirement because of injuries to other Seattle running backs, bulldozed his way to a five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Wilson threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Metcalf in the third quarter as part of an 18-for-30, 325-yard passing day.
The Seattle defense limited the Philadelphia offense to three field goals by kicker Jake Elliott. Veteran backup Josh McCown took over for Wentz and completed 18 of 24 passes for 174 yards.
“It’s remarkable, for me, to see our guys battle, how the defense kept us in this football game and the offense moved the ball but just failed to score,” Pederson said. “To still be within a score, at least with a two-point conversion, to tie the game just shows a lot of character and resiliency with this team.”
Pederson passed up a potential fourth field goal by Elliott and left his offense on the field for a fourth-and-four try from the Seattle 24-yard line with just less than 6½ minutes remaining. It failed when rookie running back Miles Sanders dropped a swing pass by McCown with open field in front of him.
“We did some good things,” Pederson said. “We just kind of stalled out in the red zone a little bit tonight. We had opportunities. We just got back to some of the core stuff with Josh.”
The Eagles got the ball back and, after a 39-yard pass interference penalty on the Seahawks, tried again on fourth and seven from the Seattle 10-yard line. But McCown was sacked by the Seahawks’ Jadeveon Clowney with 1:56 to play. The Seahawks took possession and ran out the clock, thanks to a leaping catch by Metcalf for a 36-yard gain on a third-and-10 play.
“All year Russ has been telling me: ‘Don’t let the ball come down. Don’t let the ball come down. Attack it,’" Metcalf said. "That’s all I was thinking.”
Wentz was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol after he was hit, helmet to helmet, in the back of the head by Clowney just before landing on the ground and having his head strike the turf. Clowney was not penalized on the play.
Wentz was taken to the medical tent on the Eagles’ sideline and then escorted to the locker room by members of the team’s medical staff. Wentz’s wife reportedly was taken later to the Eagles’ locker room area.
It was the latest injury-related setback for Wentz. He missed the Eagles’ run to a Super Bowl title in the 2017 season because of a knee injury suffered late in the regular season. He missed last season’s late push to the divisional round because of a back injury. Nick Foles replaced Wentz and was the Super Bowl MVP. Foles has a statue outside Lincoln Financial Field depicting the famed “Philly Special” play-call with Pederson during the Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.
The Eagles reaffirmed their commitment to Wentz in the offseason, allowing Foles to leave for Jacksonville in free agency and signing Wentz to a contract extension. And this became Wentz’s team again. Pederson has spoken of Wentz developing not only as a quarterback but also as a leader. And he had to lead a shorthanded team. For this game, standout tight end Zach Ertz returned to the lineup, but right tackle Lane Johnson was on the game-day inactive list.
But in the first quarter of his first NFL playoff game, Wentz left. He completed 1 of 4 passes for three yards.
Read our in-game updates below.
January 5, 2020 at 7:33 PM EST
Eagles fail again on fourth down
The Eagles failed on another fourth-down attempt. Josh McCown was sacked by the Seahawks’ Jadeveon Clowney on fourth and seven from the Seattle 10-yard line. The Eagles had moved into scoring position with the help of a 39-yard defensive pass interference penalty against the Seahawks. (Seahawks 17, Eagles 9 with 1:56 left in the 4th quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 7:18 PM EST
Eagles fail on fourth-down try
Coach Doug Pederson passed up a potential fourth field goal by kicker Jake Elliott and left the Philadelphia offense on the field for a fourth-and-four try from the Seattle 24-yard line. It failed, as rookie running back Miles Sanders dropped a swing pass by Josh McCown, with open field in front of him. (Seahawks 17, Eagles 9 with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 6:52 PM EST
Elliott’s third field goal draws Eagles closer
The Eagles’ offense has been limited to the kicking of Jake Elliott, who has three field goals. He connected from 38 yards. (Seahawks 17, Eagles 9 with 2:49 left in the third quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 6:43 PM EST
Seahawks add to lead with Wilson-to-Metcalf touchdown
There’s probably no reason for the Seahawks to allow the Eagles to stay close in this game, and they’ve increased their lead with a 53-yard touchdown strike from Russell Wilson to rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf. He got behind the Philadelphia secondary, hauled in Wilson’s pass and tumbled to the ground, then got up and reached the end zone. (Seahawks 17, Eagles 6 with 8:46 left in the third quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 6:35 PM EST
Elliott’s second field goal gets Eagles closer
The Eagles reached the Seattle 6-yard line but couldn’t get into the end zone. They ended up settling for a 26-yard field goal by kicker Jake Elliott. It’s backup quarterback Josh McCown’s game now, with Carson Wentz officially ruled out from returning. McCown has absorbed several hard hits, including one on a third-down sack just before the field goal. (Seahawks 10, Eagles 6, 10:36 left in the third quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 6:30 PM EST
Eagles rule out Wentz
Just after halftime, the Eagles officially ruled out Carson Wentz from returning to this game. He is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after leaving the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for a possible head injury. (Seahawks 10, Eagles 3 with 12:55 left in the 3rd quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 6:15 PM EST
Halftime in Philadelphia
It’s halftime at Lincoln Financial Field, and the offenses are doing very little in the first-round NFC playoff meeting between the fifth-seeded Seahawks and fourth-seeded Eagles. The Seahawks lead, 10-3, after a five-yard touchdown run by tailback Marshawn Lynch a little over a minute before the half.
Lynch scored in his second game back with the Seahawks after being lured out of retirement because of Seattle’s injuries to other running backs. The touchdown was set up by a 38-yard catch and run by wide receiver David Moore.
The lack of production by the Philadelphia offense is understandable after quarterback Carson Wentz exited the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for a possible concussion. Wentz was hurt on a play on which he was hit, helmet to helmet, in the back of the head by Seattle’s Jadeveon Clowney just before landing on the ground, then had his head strike the turf. Wentz was taken first to the medical tent on the Eagles’ sideline and then was escorted to the locker room by members of the team’s medical staff. According to ESPN, Wentz’s wife later was escorted to the Eagles’ locker room area.
Wentz was replaced by veteran backup Josh McCown.
The Eagles had only 87 yards of total offense in the half, to 229 for Seattle. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 181 yards on 12-for-21 passing. But, until Lynch’s touchdown, Seattle had scored only on a 49-yard field goal by kicker Jason Myers. He had an earlier field goal attempt blocked. The Eagles pulled even, temporarily, on a 46-yard field goal by kicker Jake Elliott. (Seahawks 10, Eagles 3 at halftime)
January 5, 2020 at 6:09 PM EST
A touchdown for ‘Beast Mode’
Tailback Marshawn Lynch, in his second game back with the Seahawks since being brought out of retirement, bulled his way to a five-yard touchdown run, plowing over Eagles defenders just before the goal line. The touchdown was set up by a 38-yard catch and run by wide receiver David Moore. The Eagles also were penalized for roughing the passer for a hit by Derek Barnett on Russell Wilson. (Seahawks 10, Eagles 3 with 1:06 left in the 2nd quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 5:53 PM EST
Eagles draw even with a field goal
The Eagles are doing very little on offense with veteran backup Josh McCown at quarterback in place of Carson Wentz. But they’re tied with the Seahawks after a 46-yard field goal by kicker Jake Elliott. (Seahawks 3, Eagles 3 with 2:53 left in the 2nd quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 5:22 PM EST
Seahawks take lead on field goal
Seattle has the early lead in Philadelphia, thanks to a field goal by kicker Jason Myers. He connected from 49 yards after having an earlier field goal attempt blocked. (Seahawks 3, Eagles 0 with 1:29 left in the first quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 5:18 PM EST
Carson Wentz taken to locker room
Quarterback Carson Wentz has been taken to the Eagles’ locker room, accompanied by members of the team’s medical staff. He is being evaluated for a possible head injury and the Eagles called him questionable to return to the game. He is to be replaced by backup Josh McCown.
Wentz was injured, it appeared, on a play on which he was hit in the back of the head by Seattle’s Jadeveon Clowney and then had his head strike the turf. (Seahawks 0, Eagles 0 with 1:34 left in the first quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 4:58 PM EST
Eagles block Seattle’s field goal
The Seahawks had a chance to take the early lead in Philadelphia, but the Eagles’ Vinny Curry blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt by Seattle’s kicker, Jason Myers. The block took place the play after Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox pressured Russell Wilson into a third-down incompletion. Wilson had a 22-yard scramble earlier on the drive. (Seahawks 0, Eagles 0 with 9:41 left in the 1st quarter)
January 5, 2020 at 4:16 PM EST
Ertz active, Lane Johnson inactive for Eagles
Tight end Zach Ertz is active for the Eagles for Sunday’s game. He has been cleared to play after suffering a fractured rib and a lacerated kidney that caused him to miss the regular season finale. Injured right tackle Lane Johnson is on the inactive list for the Eagles.
January 5, 2020 at 4:15 PM EST
Carson Wentz makes playoff debut as Eagles host Seahawks
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz missed his team’s run to a Super Bowl title in the 2017 season because of a knee injury. He missed last season’s push to the divisional playoff round because of a back injury. But this season, Wentz stayed healthy while the Philadelphia offense was depleted around him by injuries. He led the Eagles to the NFC East title and he makes his postseason debut Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field against the Seahawks.
Wentz and the Eagles shrugged off the injuries to key offensive contributors to win their final four games of the regular season, including a Week 16 meeting with the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia with the division crown basically at stake. The Eagles clinched the division with last Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands, but suffered another key injury in the process as they lost Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks.
Standout tight end Zach Ertz could be sidelined Sunday because of a fractured rib and a lacerated kidney. That would be a significant absence for the Eagles as they try to change the outcome against the Seahawks, who won in Philadelphia in November. Ertz and right tackle Lane Johnson were listed as questionable on the injury report, and the Eagles ruled out wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
The Seahawks went 7-1 on the road during the regular season. So it perhaps is not such an issue to them that, even after going 11-5 during the regular season, they must go on the road for this game against the 9-7 Eagles.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was in the league MVP conversation for much of the season, but now seems destined to finish behind Baltimore Ravens sensation Lamar Jackson. Wilson will hope to get some help from a running game that has been decimated because of injuries. Marshawn Lynch returned from retirement and ran for 34 yards and a touchdown in last Sunday night’s near miss loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks must rebound from the controversial, dramatic final sequence in the 49ers game, in which they ended up inches shy of a go-ahead touchdown that would have given them the NFC West title. But the road has been kind to them this season, and the Eagles are not an overly imposing opponent despite Philadelphia’s down-the-stretch success. If anything, the Seahawks will have to guard against being complacent.