Carson Wentz's MVP campaign continued along unimpeded when he threw four touchdowns in a 51-23 win over the Broncos on Sunday, pushing the Eagles' record to an NFL-best 8-1. The result wasn't necessarily a surprise given the state of the Broncos' offense (QB1: Brock Osweiler) and the location of the game (Philadelphia). But the final scoreline was somewhat surprising given the Broncos' defense is usually among the best in football.
"They run this college offense," Harris said, per NJ.com. "They run kind of like what the Chiefs do. They have options to run, options to pass, they run read-option, they run real option. Carson's checking to a lot of things. It's a college offense. He's just executing it really good."
To be clear, Harris probably didn't intend for his description of the Eagles' offense to be construed as a criticism. He meant it as a compliment. He even called the Eagles' offense the "best offense" they've played so far.
"They knew everything that we were going to be doing [on defense]," Harris said. "They had a great game plan. Carson Wentz is a great quarterback. It seemed like the Chiefs' offense. They just executed a lot better. We played a great offense. It's the best offense we've seen."
Harris isn't wrong. The Eagles' offense does borrow concepts that many prolific offenses use at the college level. And as a result, Wentz is thriving. That doesn't mean Wentz is a #SystemQuarterback. It just means he's being put in a position to succeed with clever play-calling, and he's taking full advantage of his opportunities.
Take the Eagles' first touchdown against the Broncos:
At first glance, it looks like a simple play-action pass to Alshon Jeffery. But a closer look reveals a run-pass option (RPO). Wentz first had to decide if he wanted to hand the ball off the running back or keep it. After keeping it, he looked for Jeffery, who barely moved after the snap like he was waiting for a quick pass. Complicating matters was Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, who barely bit on the play-fake and kept contain. So, Wentz had to beat Miller to the outside to give Jeffery time to beat Aqib Talib by getting vertical.
Two experts, who know more about football than I do, explain:
RPO with Carson Wentz reading the safety and he hits Jeffery past Talib for a 32-yard touchdown.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) November 5, 2017
Looked like an RPO on the Wentz to Jeffery TD...Inside Zone + QB Keep + Fade route.— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) November 5, 2017
So, that's not just an example of good play-calling. It's also an example of how good play-calling also requires good players to execute the plays to perfection. That's exactly what the Eagles have in Wentz.
Their second touchdown was just as pretty. Wentz faked a handoff to Corey Clement before setting up a screen to Clement. The Broncos' defensive front bit on the screen, Clement caught the pass with three blockers ahead of him, and he coasted into the end zone.
Wentz is the frontrunner for MVP, but don't forget about Doug Pederson, who might deserve to be considered the front-runner for Coach of the Year. Together, through clever play-calling and flawless execution, Pederson and Wentz have the Eagles atop the NFL through the first nine weeks of the season.