Carson Wentz threw the last touchdown pass of his Philadelphia Eagles career against the Seattle Seahawks in November.
Now the Seahawks will try to prevent him from throwing the first of his career with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Wentz had foot surgery Aug. 2 to remove a piece of bone that had broken loose in his foot, and his status for Sunday’s opener against Seattle had loomed as uncertain throughout the preseason.
But Wentz has gotten the go-ahead to start against Seattle, having participated in practice all week.
Wentz’s trade from the Eagles to the Colts, who needed a new quarterback after the retirement of Philip Rivers, was one of the big stories of the NFL offseason, his standing in Philadelphia having fallen stunningly just three seasons removed from the team winning its only Super Bowl title.
The last full game Wentz played for the Eagles was a 23-17 loss to Seattle on Nov. 30. He started the following week against the Packers but was benched early for Jalen Hurts and never took another snap for Philly.
And while Wentz’s main concern Sunday is getting his career back on track in a city known for its speedway, he’ll also look to break a curse against the Seahawks.
Wentz is 0-4 against Seattle in the regular season and was also the starter for the Eagles in the Seahawks’ 17-9 wild-card playoff win over Philly in 2020, though he played nine snaps and threw just four passes before being knocked out of the game on a hit by Jadeveon Clowney.
Wentz, who was the second overall pick of the 2016 draft, lost twice to the Seahawks in Seattle when his star was ascending — a 26-15 Seahawks victory in 2016, a game best remembered for Doug Baldwin’s 15-yard TD pass to Russell Wilson that clinched it (still the only TD catch of Wilson’s career) and a 24-10 Seahawks win in 2017 in which the key play was a Wentz fumble at the 1-yard line when the Eagles were on the verge of tying the game in the third quarter.
And he lost to Seattle twice in the regular season in Philly when his star was descending — a 17-9 Seahawks win late in the 2019 season and November’s defeat when Wentz threw a final, futile 33-yard TD pass to Richard Rodgers with 12 seconds left to make the game look closer than it was.
Overall, Wentz is 110-of-180 passing in four regular-season games against Seattle for 1,037 yards, six touchdowns, six interceptions and 12 sacks — six sacks coming last season, with seven different Seattle players getting credit for at least one half-sack.
Getting sacked was a regular feeling for Wentz last year. He was sacked an NFL-leading 50 times, even though he sat out the last four games (Wilson was third at 47).
The sacks came to define the dizzying decline in Wentz’s game, as Wentz seemed to grow more and more indecisive his last few seasons in Philly as the losses — and questions about his future — piled up.
But the hope of the Colts is that he will rediscover his form of 2016 and 2017 — when he was regarded as one of the best QBs in the NFL — while working again with Frank Reich.
Reich was Philly’s offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017 before becoming head coach of the Colts in 2018. Wentz threw 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 2017 before he suffered an injury that opened the door for Nick Foles to become a Super Bowl hero. He threw 64 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in his last three seasons with Philly.
As the Seahawks prepared for the Colts this week, it’s film of Wentz’s time with Reich in Philly they focused on most.
“The personnel around him is going to be different, but I would assume the offense is going to be pretty similar to the one (in Philly),’’ middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “I think that’s the reason he came back to Indy is because of the success he had with Frank Reich. You’ll see a lot of RPOs (run-pass option plays), a lot of movement. They have a great running game that’s going to complement some of their play-action stuff.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to move him out of the pocket, unless he’s still hurt, and get the ball out of his hand, and he’s going to find receivers. He’s really good at getting the ball out of his hands, making reads. … I think it’ll be fun. You definitely have to be conscious of him taking off if he doesn’t have anything.”
Said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “I think the thing that we are looking for is the relationship that Frank (Reich) and Carson had when they were together. That world-class season that they put together was obvious, and so I’m sure that’s how they’re looking toward the future. That’s how I’m looking toward it because I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be that way.
“… You can even see it with clips of Carson running around, he’s just bouncing everywhere and is so jacked up to get out there and play because he’s missed some time. I think you can sense what their enthusiasm is like and what it might lead them to.”
Sunday, though, Carroll hopes it’s only Wentz’s Seahawks history that repeats itself.