Carson Wentz is the rookie Gunslinger

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carson Wentz is the rookie version of his favorite player.

The Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback grew up rooting for Brett Favre.

Now, he's throwing more passes than even the Ol' Gunslinger.

Wentz has 498 pass attempts and he's on pace to break Donovan McNabb's team record of 571 attempts in a season. If he throws 130 more passes in the final three games, Wentz will break Andrew Luck's rookie record of 627 in 2012.

Favre never fired away that many times in a season - 613 was his high.

''I guess it's hard to say that I expected to throw this much, but it's just kind of the way games have gone,'' Wentz said. ''By no means am I complaining about it.''

The Eagles had more success when they ran more and Wentz threw less. They were 4-2 in the first six games when Wentz averaged 30.8 passes per game and 1-6 in the past seven when he's averaged 44.7.

Playing catch-up often means having to pass more, but that hasn't been the case each week. Coach Doug Pederson called 51 passes and only 24 runs in last Sunday's 27-22 loss to Washington , even though the score was close throughout and the Eagles led in the fourth quarter.

''You never want to ask your rookie quarterback to throw the ball 60 times and then 46 times like he did. It's usually a recipe for disaster,'' Pederson said.

''Have we asked a lot of him? Yeah, we have, and he's handled it extremely well. It's just making him a better quarterback for not only the rest of the season, but for the future.''

Wentz had no interceptions in his first three games when he tossed 102 passes. The Eagles won all three. He threw his first pick on his 135th attempt - the final pass in a 24-23 loss to Detroit in his fourth game - and has 12 interceptions total.

While Philadelphia (5-8) plays out the string, Wentz has gained valuable experience during a rebuilding season. All those pass attempts should help him down the road.

''There's no doubt that Carson is seeing a lot,'' offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. ''He's seeing every kind of pressure, every kind of coverage. He's figuring out what throws he can make, what throws he can't make, how he can improve here. Those are all good things that I think are going to help him in the long run.''

Wentz faces the NFL's fourth-ranked defense on Sunday when the Eagles visit Baltimore (7-6). The Ravens were No. 1 before Tom Brady and the Patriots racked up 496 yards in a 30-23 win on Monday night .

Across the sideline is another small-school quarterback who had the kind of success Wentz strives to achieve. Joe Flacco, who grew up rooting for the Eagles in nearby southern New Jersey, played college ball at Delaware.

The Ravens drafted him 18th overall in 2008 and he helped them reach the playoffs as a rookie. Of course, Baltimore had Ray Lewis and a great defense. Flacco then led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title four years later.

''Having a guy that's come from that level and to go in the way he did and have the success early, I think it just made people believe that it could be done again,'' said Wentz, who guided North Dakota State to consecutive FCS championships.

''I think he set the bar - set the standard for that, at least in recent times. I think it was huge that teams could go and look at him as an example.''

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

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