Cardinals’ defense breaks down, gets picked apart by Wentz

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz turned third downs into a passing clinic against the Arizona Cardinals.

Six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, 2015 Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu and the rest of Arizona’s secondary had a tough time against Philadelphia’s second-year quarterback.

Wentz finished 21 of 30 for 304 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-7 win on Sunday. Wentz completed 11 of 12 passes on third down for 225 yards and three TDs, including a 59-yard toss to Torrey Smith and a 72-yard connection to Nelson Agholor that left Peterson livid.

“Carson Wentz did a heck of a job finding guys for touchdowns,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “We blitzed but couldn’t get home. When you leave defensive backs out there in that situation, you’ve got to get home.”

The Cardinals trailed 24-7 when Agholor sped past Budda Baker to make an over-the-shoulder catch on third-and-19. He spun away from Baker and shoved him away to reach the end zone.

Peterson flipped. He was shouting on the sideline and had to be calmed down by an assistant coach.

“I was upset,” Peterson said. “I’m a passionate guy. I’m a leader on this defense, a captain on this team, and I just want to show my players how upset I was and hopefully it got through to them. It was a number of things that went on on that play that caused me to get upset, but we’ll keep that on the field.”

Peterson helped limit Alshon Jeffery to three receptions for 31 yards, but Wentz picked apart the defense. He spread the ball around and tossed TD passes to four receivers.

“He did a good job of checking the play into something that was good for them,” Peterson said. “He’s soon to be a top-tier quarterback.”

The Eagles converted four times on third down on the first two TD drives and finished 9 of 14 in those situations.

“We got ourselves into some winnable downs, but we weren’t able to convert and get off the field,” Peterson said.

Wentz was only sacked once and the Cardinals couldn’t generate much pressure in their first game without linebacker Markus Golden. They sent extra rushers after Wentz, but he took advantage of mismatches.

“They play a lot of man coverage, they like to press and we have playmakers on the edge who can get off man coverage and make plays,” Wentz said.


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