By DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz’s first career postseason start ended early because of a head injury.
Wentz appeared to get hurt in the first quarter of the Philadelphia Eagles’ wild-card playoff game against Seattle on Sunday when he was drilled on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Wentz stayed in the game for several plays before he was checked out in the sideline medical tent. He left for the locker room late in the quarter.
Wentz made his first career playoff start against Seattle after missing the Eagles’ Super Bowl run two years ago because of knee surgery and last year’s wild-card win due to a back injury. Wentz watched from the sideline as Nick Foles became a local legend, leading the Eagles to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title two years ago. Wentz again was a spectactor a year ago as Foles sparked an unlikely playoff berth and a wild-card victory.
Once Foles moved on to Jacksonville, the postseason was supposed to belong to Wentz.
He couldn’t even last a quarter.
The Eagles turned to 40-year-old Josh McCown, in his first career playoff game, to lead them against the Seahawks. The Eagles did not have a third active QB and could use Greg Ward Jr., a star quarterback in college at Houston before converting to wide receiver in the pros, in an emergency.
Wentz, healthy at last during the regular season, played though a patchwork set of receivers to lead the Eagles to four consecutive wins down the stretch and their second NFC East title in three seasons. Wentz started all 16 games for the second time in his four seasons and set single-season team records with 4,039 yards passing and 388 completions.
He became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards without a single wide receiver reaching 500 yards receiving. The Eagles lost starting receivers DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, released Mack Hollins, signed and released Jordan Matthews and finished with five players off the practice squad — especially Ward — making valuable contributions at the skill positions.
Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in 2016, took a pair of hard hits in the back against Seattle before Clowney delivered the crushing blow. The crown of Clowney’s helmet connected with the back of Wentz’s head and drove the QB into the turf.
McCown fired up the packed Linc crowd when he scrambled 11 yards for a first down late in the second quarter. Jake Elliott kicked a 46-yard field goal on the drive, tying the game at 3. The Seahawks led 10-3 at halftime on Marshawn Lynch’s TD run.
McCown had come out of retirement in August to join his 11th team and play his 17th season. ESPN had hired McCown to be an NFL analyst on the day he announced he was calling it quits. Just five months later, he was instead calling plays in a pinch, one more playoff game Wentz had to cede to a backup.
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