Ben DiNucci vs. Carson Wentz—Which QB Was Worse in Cowboys-Eagles Clash?

The quarterbacks stole the show for all the wrong reasons as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys 23-9 on Sunday Night Football.

Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci completed 21 of his 40 passes for 180 yards, zero touchdowns and a 64.6 passer rating in his first NFL game, losing two fumbles in the process.

Both of his fumbles were turned into points, continuing a worrying trend that has seen Dallas concede a league-high 97 points off turnovers so far this season.

The Cowboys have now gone two entire games without a touchdown for only the fourth time in franchise history and an offense that looked unstoppable under Dak Prescott has now put up a combined 12 points in two games.

Wentz, meanwhile, completed 15 of his 27 passes, for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Like his more inexperienced colleague, Wentz also had two fumbles and also threw two interceptions—both of them to Trevon Diggs—finishing the game with a 61.2 passer rating, even lower than DiNucci's.

Carson Wentz is 2/2 targeting Trevon Diggs! pic.twitter.com/dXWBnhInLs

— PFF (@PFF) November 2, 2020

While there was no sugarcoating DiNucci's performance, there were several mitigating factors for the Cowboys quarterback, a seventh-round pick in this year's NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old is Dallas' third-string quarterback and only made his NFL debut against the Washington Football Team last week, when he replaced Cowboys backup quarterback Andy Dalton, who had been ruled out of the game because of concussion.

Playing behind a banged up offensive line hardly helped DiNucci's case, who was sacked four times on 49 drop backs.

Eagles want to face Ben DiNucci every week. Cowboys want to face Carson Wentz every week.

— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 2, 2020

Ben DiNucci is having one of the worst games I've ever seen and he's outplaying Carson.

— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) November 2, 2020

Ben DiNucci and Carson Wentz battling it out for the 7th best QB in the division rn

— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) November 2, 2020

If you subtract Ben DiNucci's final drive stats, which I think is fair to do because it was the epitome of garbage time, he went 14-of-29 for 126 yards (0 TDs, 0 INTs).

Carson Wentz went 15-of-27 for 123 yards (2 TDs, 2 INTs).

— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) November 2, 2020

Ben DiNucci has been anything but good tonight.

Carson Wentz has somehow been worse. #CowboysNation

— SportsDay Cowboys (@dmn_cowboys) November 2, 2020

What is Carson Wentz doing?

— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 2, 2020

The only metallic silver lining to tonight's loss in Philly: Carson Wentz isn't very good.

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) November 2, 2020

Mitigating circumstances, meanwhile, were far thinner on the ground as far as Wentz was concerned. The Eagles' offensive line is arguably even more porous than the Cowboys—Wentz has been sacked 32 times this season, the most of any quarterback in the NFL—and their receiving corps are neither as deep nor as talented as Dallas.

Even when all those factors are considered, however, it was striking to see Wentz, a former Pro Bowler, struggle like a seventh-round pick making his first NFL start.

Wentz's four turnovers brought his tally for the season to a league-high 15 and came against a defense that had recorded a league-worst three takeaways all season ahead of Sunday Night Football.

The Cowboys had last recovered four takeaways in Week 7 of last season, ironically also against the Eagles.

Wentz, the second overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, displayed all the usual issues that have blighted his game for a while. On Sunday night, the Eagles quarterback remained reluctant to get rid of the ball and his attempt to force a deep ball into double coverage towards wide receiver Jaleon Reagor continued a worrying trend for end zone interceptions.

The pick was the 10th time in his career Wentz has been intercepted while throwing into the end zone, the second-highest tally in the NFL along with Pittsburgh Steeleers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger since Wentz entered the league in 2016. With 11 end zone picks over the same period, only Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown more.

While the Cowboys racked up a paltry 265 yards of total offense, the Eagles fared even worse and put together just 222 yards. Despite a shaky performance, however, the Eagles ground out a second consecutive win against a divisional rival, improving to 3-4-1 to take control of the woeful NFC East.

The division remains the only one in the NFL whose all four members have a losing record this season.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on after an incomplete pass on fourth down and one in the final minute of the second quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell Leff/Getty