Eagles bench Wentz for Hurts in loss to Packers

Philadelphia Eagles rookie Jalen Hurts replaced Carson Wentz at quarterback midway through the third quarter and nearly sparked a comeback in Sunday’s 30-16 road loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Hurts outperformed Wentz, finishing 5-of-12 for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing five times for 29 yards. Wentz ended 6-of-15 for 79 yards and was sacked four times. The decision to bench Wentz — and the team’s uptick in play after Hurts was inserted into the lineup — will only intensify the quarterback debate raging in Philadelphia.

Hurts tossed the first touchdown pass of his career midway through the fourth quarter, hitting receiver Greg Ward for a 32-yard strike on fourth-and-18.

Fellow Eagles rookie Jalen Reagor made it a one-score game with a 73-yard punt return touchdown a little more than a minute later, but the comeback bid ended there, as Green Bay’s Aaron Jones broke off a 77-yard touchdown run, and Hurts followed with an interception.

Hurts saw an uptick in first-team snaps prior to last week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, sources told ESPN, but was on the field for only two plays as a result of the offense’s inability to sustain drives. With Wentz’s struggles continuing against the Packers, coach Doug Pederson decided to give Hurts his first extended opportunity under center.

Wentz, 27, has been mired in the worst season of his career, entering Sunday’s game ranked first in interceptions (15) and sacks (46), 31st in completion percentage (58.1%) and 30th in yards per attempt (6.02).

Hurts played 33 snaps in the first 11 games, lining up all over the formation while being used mostly as a gadget player. With calls increasing for Hurts in recent weeks, Pederson has maintained that Wentz is the starter for Philadelphia (3-8-1).

Hurts racked up 52 touchdowns for Oklahoma last season — 32 passing and 20 rushing — on the way to finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting, behind Joe Burrow. The Eagles surprised many by drafting Hurts 53rd overall in April’s NFL draft, despite giving Wentz a four-year, $128 extension in the summer of 2019.

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