PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz calls third downs the “money down.”
Wentz threw a career-best four touchdown passes and the Philadelphia Eagles continued their impressive start with a 34-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Wentz tossed three scoring passes on three consecutive attempts in the first quarter, including 59 yards to Torrey Smith, 11 yards to Zach Ertz and 15 yards to Trey Burton. He connected with Nelson Agholor for a 72-yard TD in the third quarter that left six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson shouting on the sideline.
The Eagles (4-1) have won three straight games.
Wentz was 11 for 12 for 225 yards and three TDs on third down.
“To be that efficient, that’s huge,” Wentz said.
Carson Palmer and Arizona’s one-dimensional offense were held to 279 yards. The Cardinals (2-3) have alternated losses and wins since Week 1.
Wentz torched a secondary that features Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, finishing 21 of 30 for 304 yards. Peterson held Alshon Jeffery to three catches for 31 yards, but Wentz spread the ball around.
The Eagles entered with the NFL’s second-best third-down offense and converted their first four chances, including two of Wentz’s early TDs.
“We got ourselves into some winnable downs and we weren’t able to get off the field,” Peterson said.
On the opening drive, Wentz tossed a 12 yard pass to Ertz on third-and-11 and a 16-yard pass to Jeffery on another third-and-11. Then he found Burton on a fade for a 7-0 lead.
Wentz’s TD pass to Ertz came on third-and-6 to make it 14-0. He hit Smith in stride on third-and-5 for a 21-0 lead.
“Our execution was pretty good, Carson made accurate throws and the guys did a nice job route running,” coach Doug Pederson said.
The Cardinals finally got going when Palmer threw a 13-yard TD pass to John Brown to cut it to 21-7.
Agholor’s TD catch was on third-and-19. He blew past safety Budda Baker, caught Wentz’s perfect pass over the shoulder and used a spin move and stiff arm to reach the end zone.
“I shouldn’t have been able to make the throw, but Jason Kelce made a great block on two guys,” Wentz said about his center. “And then Nelly made the guy look silly.”
NOT SO PERFECT
Wentz made a mistake late in the second quarter after guiding the Eagles to the Cardinals 25. He overthrew Ertz and Antoine Bethea made a toe-tapping interception in the end zone.
Kenjon Barner had a 76-yard punt return to set up Philadelphia’s second TD. Barner was signed after veteran Darren Sproles tore his ACL in Week 3.
Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson deflected Phil Dawson’s 51-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald caught a pass for the 200th consecutive game, third-longest streak in NFL history. Fitzgerald, who had 11 TDs in eight games vs. Philadelphia, was held to six catches for 51 yards.
Smith and a few teammates came up with an original, baseball-themed TD celebration . Smith was the batter. Jeffery crouched like a catcher. Agholor pretended to be the pitcher and Wentz was the umpire. Agholor wound up and threw a fake pitch. Smith used the ball as a bat and swatted a “home run.”
Cardinals: LS Aaron Brewer (arm) left in the first quarter. T Jared Veldheer (knee) and DT Olsen Pierre (ankle) were injured in the third.
Eagles: RT Lane Johnson left at halftime with a head injury. … Two-time Pro Bowl DT Fletcher Cox (calf) missed his second straight game and RB Wendell Smallwood (knee) also didn’t play.
Cardinals: Host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Eagles: Visit the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
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