It’s tough to tell which graduate of Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, delivered the best performance Sunday.
Cara Mund, a 2012 graduate, became the first Miss North Dakota in history to win the Miss America Pageant at Boardwalk Hall. The 23-year-old wowed the crowd with a self-choreographed jazz dance she did to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Carson Wentz, valedictorian of Century’s class of 2011, also had some “wow” moments in leading the Eagles to a 30-17 victory at Washington. The 24-year-old quarterback threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
“I said, ‘If Carson Wentz can do it, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund can become Miss America,’” Mund said after winning the title.
Wentz also had to do some dancing.
His statistics — 26-for-39, 307 yards, two TDs and an interception — were all the more impressive considering the pressure he faced from the Redskins. On almost every pass, there was a defender yanking on his jersey or grabbing at his legs in an effort to bring him to the turf.
Wentz did suffer two sacks, but it could have easily been 12 if not for his athleticism and escapability.
“Honestly, a lot of it is just instinct,” Wentz said Sunday. “But from talking to our defense a lot during (training camp), I know how frustrating it can get for a defense when the quarterback is able to extend plays.”
His best scrambling act produced the Eagles’ first TD against the Redskins.
Wentz faded back to pass on the Eagles’ third play from scrimmage and immediately came facemask to facemask with blitzing linebacker Chris Carter.
Wentz spun and twisted to get away from Carter and then managed to evade linebacker Preston Smith. He flung the football downfield and into the waiting arms of wide receiver Nelson Agholor to complete a 58-yard TD.
“I told (Wentz) I’d only seen two players in the NFL make that play, him and (Green Bay quarterback) Aaron Rodgers,” Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “All that elusiveness, that’s a special play.”
That play was just the first of many instances in which Wentz turned potential sacks into big plays.
The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder got hit a lot but stood up under the pressure.
“That’s just what he does, man,” Eagles tackle Lane Johnson said. “He’s dynamic. Sometimes it looks like a sack is coming, and he can get out of it and make plays. He’s a special player.”
Inconsistency on the offensive line was responsible for some of his heroics.
Left tackle Jason Peters suffered a strained groin in the second quarter and was limited to 31 of the Eagles’ 68 offensive plays. He tried to come back in the third quarter, felt a twinge and left.
“I was locked up with (Redskins linebacker Ryan) Kerrigan and felt it,” Peters said. “I went to the sideline and was ready to go back in, but the trainers told me to stay out.”
Second-year tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced Peters and had a respectable game, but the Redskins’ defense clearly had the advantage.
Wentz’s ability to withstand punishment was impressive, but the Eagles can’t expect him to last 16 games under that much duress.
“He hung in there,” coach Doug Pederson said. “He took shot after shot and was still able to extend a lot of plays.”