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Philadelphia Eagles' Nelson Agholor (13) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers with quarterback Carson Wentz (11) in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles earned a statement win Thursday night when they defeated the Carolina Panthers 28-23 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to improve to 5-1. 

The Panthers, meanwhile, dropped to 4-2 as they struggled to find offensive balance against Philadelphia’s fast and physical defensive front. Quarterback Cam Newton completed 28 of 52 passes for 239 yards, two total touchdowns and three interceptions, while all Panthers running backs combined to rush 13 times for one yard.  

Despite the underwhelming figures, the Panthers had multiple chances to complete a two-score comeback. 

While the Eagles led 28-16 with 14:55 remaining in the fourth quarter following a 24-yard touchdown catch by Nelson Agholor, they couldn’t sustain drives in the final frame and ceded the field to Newton—who had two opportunities to make the Eagles pay following a one-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey.

The first ended with a third-down interception that found the waiting arms of cornerback Jalen Mills, and the second, which featured a near-pick to Malcolm Jenkins, ended when Newton missed McCaffrey short over the middle on 4th-and-1 with 1:22 to go. 

Those erratic tendencies ultimately sunk the Panthers, and they were particularly evident when contrasted with Carson Wentz’s performance.

Fresh off a 304-yard game against the Arizona Cardinals, Wentz completed 16 of 30 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, including two to tight end Zach Ertz. Wentz has now tossed three touchdowns in consecutive games after not doing so once as a rookie. 

With Wentz humming once again, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar took note of the progress the second-year signal-caller has made: 

That progress was particularly evident in the third quarter, when Wentz dropped a 37-yard deep ball in the bucket to Alshon Jeffery that helped set up Agholor’s game-clinching score: 

Not to be overlooked was the performance of left tackle Jason Peters, who helped make up for the absence of right tackle Lane Johnson (concussion) by not allowing a single pressure on 37 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus

And when the pocket wasn’t collapsing around him, as it was throughout the first quarter, Wentz was at his best: 

The Eagles offensive line also imposed its will up front in the running game as LeGarrette Blount rumbled his way to 67 yards on 14 carries. Dating back to the Eagles’ Week 3 win over the New York Giants, Blount has topped 4.5 yards per carry in four straight games. 

Now riding a four-game winning streak, the Eagles will have 10 days off before they host Washington on Oct. 23 on Monday Night Football

The Panthers, meanwhile, will look to bounce back against the Chicago Bears next Sunday and hope linebacker Luke Kuechly—who left the loss with a concussion—is able to make a speedy recovery and stabilize the second level of the defense. 

Bleacher Report – Front Page

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