Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said that he has so much confidence in quarterback Carson Wentz and the offense that he doesn't even get off the bench on third down -- he just assumes they'll convert.
His faith was admittedly tested, though, on a third-and-8 early in the fourth quarter Monday, when the Washington Redskins defense appeared to swallow Wentz up near the line of scrimmage. Improbably, Wentz shook loose from the scrum and dashed 17 yards to sustain a scoring drive that helped put the game away.
"The one where he scrambled out of there, I literally turned around and grabbed my helmet, and somehow, I look up at the screen and he's still running," said Jenkins. "That's the magic of Carson Wentz."
Asked to describe Philadelphia's 24-year-old quarterback in a word, Jenkins went back to the same descriptor.
"Magic," he said. "To be as young as he is, we forget that it's only his second year. The things that he does ... A lot of times I'm on the sideline yelling, 'Slide!' because sometimes he goes for the extra two yards that we really don't need. But it's fun to watch him, man. He's an exciting, electric player. Obviously, you've got a lot of eyes on him around the league."
There's no doubt Wentz's star is rising both in Philadelphia and around the NFL, and the team's hopes are ascending right along with it. The win against Washington moves the Eagles to 6-1 overall, the best mark in the league. They are home for the next two weeks (49ers, Broncos) -- a good chance to add to their win total prior to their Week 10 bye. Wentz has fueled the unexpected start. He leads the league in touchdown passes (17) after throwing four more on Monday night, and ranks fourth in passing yards (1,852). If there was any doubt he was an MVP candidate, he erased it Monday in front of a national audience.
The play that generated the most awe from teammates and fans alike was his touchdown pass to running back Corey Clement, when he dodged the first wave of defenders, stepped up and, with two Washington players tackling him, lofted a perfect ball to Clement in the right corner of the end zone for the score.
"I don't know how he saw me," said Clement.
"He must have Spiderman vision out there," added receiver Alshon Jeffery. "The one to Corey, he just came up out of [traffic], he senses it and just lets it fly."
The Eagles lost left tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks to injury Monday, and are already without the services of running back Darren Sproles. Those are key injuries that, depending on severity, could be felt down the stretch as they face a challenging second half of schedule that includes road games against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, and a Christmas home game against the Oakland Raiders. The imagination-stirring play of their quarterback, though, has Wentz's teammates feeling confident that this team will continue to find a way to get it done.
"He's doing a great job," said tight end Zach Ertz. "He's leading our team. He's the face of the franchise, he's the face of the city right now, so it's an exciting time in Philadelphia."