Commanders are eliminated, and Carson Wentz faces an uncertain NFL future


After a humiliating season-ending loss to the Washington Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, several remaining fans ran scout Carson Wentz off the field. They walked down the steps of the lower bowl at FedEx Field and into the locker room, joining the small crowd that had gathered above the tunnel. They waited until Wentz approached.

Wentz didn’t look up. His face did not change. But it was impossible not to hear the crowd’s displeasure in Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. On the Chiefs’ first drive of the day, Wentz threw an interception on the second throw, and fans chanted for backup Taylor Heinicke. They did it at least four more times in the afternoon.

The Chiefs’ playoff hopes end after a bad loss to the Browns

“It’s part of football,” Wentz said. “I have seen and experienced a lot in seven years. I understood. Today was not my best day. I would like it to be [gone] different. I feel like I put some of my teammates down there early in the game and put us in a little bit of a hole. But that’s part of football.”

Did the songs influence him?

“[I] not trying [let them],” he said.

By many measures, it was Washington’s worst offensive performance of the season, a 24-8 loss at Dallas in Week 4. It was a disastrous end to a bet coach Ron Rivera made after Wentz’s brief, promising showing in last week’s loss. San Francisco. Against the Browns, the quarterback completed 16-for-28 passes (57.1 percent) for 143 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. He also had three sacks, all of which took 2.4 seconds or longer, according to TruMedia.

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“I thought he had his moments,” said Rivera, whose team put together a 21-play, 96-yard drive before halftime and scored its lone touchdown. He noted that Wentz needs to throw the ball early on the first interception and has more zip on the second.

“He caught the ball a few times and probably could have and should have,” Rivera added. “We have to keep working on it.”

In the opposing locker room, the Browns seemed unfazed by Wentz’s struggles. Several defensive backs, including Jadeveon Clowney and linebacker Reggie Ragland, said all week that stopping the run on first and second down would force Wentz to throw on third-and-long, a situation where he’s in trouble.

With the worst defense in the NFL, Cleveland basically executed the plan. Washington struggled to get better running the ball on early downs, and even though he faced manageable third downs — his average per conversion was 6.1 yards, his fifth-shortest of the year — the Browns’ pass rush hit Wentz hard. influence his decision-making.

“Once we pocket it, it’s over,” Clowney said. “Going in, we said, ‘If we can tease him, we’ll get some spins out of him.’ We knew that.’

Four in the Commanders 24-10 loss to the Browns

“If you know football, you know [Wentz] has a slow release, and you know Heinicke’s going to get the ball out quick,” Ragland said. “Some of the guys I know on the team” — Ragland played college football at Alabama, Commanders wide receiver Cam Sims and defensive end Jonathan Allen — “they’d prefer Heinicke because he’s got the ball. know how to get out. It can also be seen in the film. They play differently with every defender.”

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Browns quarterback Myles Garrett said Wentz, who usually carries the ball too much, seemed to be doing more on Sunday because it was part of the game plan. He noted that the Commanders set up to shoot deep and sometimes used two players to chip defenders, which slowed them down on their routes and limited Wentz’s checking opportunities.

“They wanted to get some plays down the field and some plays that have been developing for a long time,” Garrett said. “I really don’t think it was [Wentz] Everything is waiting for him to develop.”

In the Chiefs’ locker room, teammates defended Wentz. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin admitted it was “hard” for Wentz to hear the chants for Heinicke, and Logan Thomas said he didn’t feel like he needed to say anything to Wentz because he knew it as Wentz’s former quarterback. very hard on himself.

“We can’t really blame [Wentz] for the performance,” said Brian Robinson Jr. “We didn’t have the energy we needed. … Overall, it was boring. I don’t know where the energy came from, but it was definitely in the air and you could feel it. I think it affected his performance.” .

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The final drive — with a fumble, one down and two false start penalties — featured the sloppiness of the Chiefs’ offense. As the clock ran out, Wentz shook hands and weaved his way through the Browns’ defense. He congratulated Garrett and Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson before kneeling at halfback. Wentz, defensive end Chase Young, linebacker David Mayo and two Browns employees knelt and held hands in a prayer circle.

Nobody said anything about the game. They pray for the health of the players and their families, “the most important thing in life,” Mayo said. It could have been Wentz’s last time on the field as the Commanders’ starter.

It was hard to ignore the echoes of Wentz’s past all afternoon. Needing a win to make the playoffs last season, Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts lost 26-11 to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Wentz again had one of his worst performances this year against another elimination team.

“I want the result to be different. I hope that we will come out of here with victory,” he said. “But I don’t think so [last year]. It’s a completely new situation, a new place, a new everything – and I just want it to be different.”

A minute or so later, Wentz rose from the prayer circle, scratched his beard, and ran toward the tunnel—to these and an unknown future.


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