Wentz named Commanders' starter for playoff push


Former Eagle Carson Wentz has been named the Commanders’ starting quarterback for this weekend’s game against the Browns.

Wentz, 29, was the starter entering the season but then went on IR with a fractured finger and lost his job to Taylor Heinicke. In his nine starts, Heinicke went 5-3-1, including that Week 10 win in Philadelphia.

But after struggling on Christmas Eve, Heinicke was benched and Ron Rivera went back to Wentz. And now that’s the direction Washington is going in Week 17 as the Commanders try to lock up a playoff spot.

The Commanders are in last place in the NFC East but clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC with a 7-7-1 record. The Commanders finish their season with home games against the Browns and Cowboys. Washington could technically earn a playoff berth this week; they’d need a win and for the Lions, Seahawks and Packers to lose.

Wentz had been back on the roster as the backup since Dec. 12 but it was hard to overlook the spark Heinicke gave to the Commanders. But since their 5-1 stretch with Heinicke, they have gone 0-2-1.

Back in Week 3, the Commanders hosted the Eagles with Wentz as the quarterback. The Eagles sacked him nine times on their way to a 24-8 win. But for the Week 10 Eagles loss on Monday Night Football, Wentz was still on IR. He didn’t get that return to Philly game.

But if the Commanders get into the playoffs as the 7-seed, they would travel to face the No. 2 seed (right now the Vikings). If the Eagles lock up the No. 1 seed, that could lead to a Commanders-Eagles matchup in the divisional round at the Linc. That would be a fun way for Wentz to finally make his return to Philly.

With his third team in three years after getting traded from the Colts to the Commanders in the offseason, Wentz this season has a 2-4 record. He’s completed 62.9% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He’s pretty far removed from his MVP-candidate season in 2017 and is running out of chances in the NFL. A good playoff run here could help save his career.

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