'Cool way to start': Wentz wins Washington debut

‘Cool way to start’: Wentz wins Washington debut

LANDOVER, Md. — Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz beat his old coach, won his first game with his new team and showed his new one what it’s like to have him as a quarterback – all the good and bad sides.

In Wentz’s first game with Washington, he threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the final quarter, to lead a 28-22 comeback win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wentz played five seasons with Jaguars coach Doug Pederson when the two were in Philadelphia.

“It was awesome,” Wentz said of the win. “Kind of coming together and doing it when it mattered in the end was cool. Cool way to start.”

But the reason Wentz had to rally the Commanders was because he threw interceptions on back-to-back plays, leading the Jaguars to 10 points. Wentz called it a lousy stretch, made possible by being late on one pick and forcing the second.

It’s the kind of roller coaster ride that has defined Wentz’s career — and it goes with his new coach, Ron Rivera, who knows exactly how he’s going to handle it this season.

“I’m going to take antacids,” he said. “We’re going to ride with him, we’ll go with the good, we’ll go with the bad. We’ve done a lot of research on him and we felt comfortable and confident that he’s a guy we need here, a guy with courage.”

After the second interception, Wentz hit the ground on the sideline and then looked at Rivera, who told him he now had to go and win the game. Wentz replied “I will,” then calmly walked away – and won the game.

“It’s just the reality,” Wentz said. “You make a few bad plays, it’s time to go fix it. But at the same time, don’t try to fix everything at once. Just go do the next good thing, go do the next play.”

And then he did. After Jacksonville took a 22-14 lead with 11 minutes and 52 seconds left, Wentz showed the big-play ability that led Washington to trade for him in March, hoping he will solve their quest for quarterback stability. -back that lasts for decades. Wentz was the 33rd quarterback to leave for Washington since winning the Super Bowl after the 1991 season.

Wentz showed why they hoped there would be better days ahead when he capped off a four-game drive with a 49-yard pass to receiver Terry McLaurin, hitting him in stride.

Wentz then led a 13-game streak for the starting spots. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 59 yards and connected with rookie receiver Jahan Dotson for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 1:52 remaining.

“I’ve played a lot of football, I’ve seen the ups and downs,” said Wentz, who threw two touchdown passes in the first half, “and just knowing about the past trying to doing too much in these situations can come to haunt you. I believed in them and the guys were making plays when it mattered.

Wentz’s season last year ended in a 15-point loss to Jacksonville, which cost the Indianapolis Colts a playoff berth and all but sealed his fate after a year. The Colts agreed to a trade less than two months later — and only a year after acquiring him from Philadelphia.

But that’s another Jaguars team, now coached by Pederson. Wentz caught him before the game.

“Two years ago we were here in week 1 together [with Philadelphia]”, Wentz said. “You realize how much things change, but he’s a guy I have nothing but respect for and I wish him the best. It was fun to see him, catch him and compete with him.”

After the game, Wentz spoke to his new teammates, hammering away at the Commanders’ resilience and telling them how he needed to play better.

“But the key point,” McLaurin said, “was how he reacted and stayed poised under pressure.

“He doesn’t go too high, he doesn’t go too low. To come back from tough turnovers and respond the way he has is a real test of his character. We’ll have plenty of chances to win games.”

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