Eagles

Carson Wentz's big plays and historic numbers for Eagles' D

usa-carson-wentz-brandon-graham-fletcher-cox-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Carson Wentz's big plays and historic numbers for Eagles' D

In this week's edition of Roob Stats, we look at first-quarter defense, touchdown streaks, 50-yard touchdowns and 50-yard field goals and much more!
 
First-quarter defense 
• The Eagles have now gone 10 straight games without allowing a first-quarter touchdown. That's their longest such streak since a 13-gamer in 1971.
 
• In 12 home games under Jim Schwartz, the Eagles have allowed just one first-quarter touchdown … an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass last November.
 
Fletcher Cox vs. Brandon Graham
• Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham continued to battle for the Eagles' career sack lead among active players, with each recording sacks against the 49ers.
 
• Graham now leads Cox 33-32 in a crowded field. There are 11 Eagles with between 29½ and 34 sacks. Graham is tied for 10th in Eagles history with William Thomas, and Cox is now tied for 13th with Corey Simon.
 
• Two more sacks will move Graham past William Fuller (35½) and Dennis Harrison (34). Next for Cox is Kenny Clarke (32½).
 
Ertz piling up the touchdowns
• Zach Ertz became the first Eagles tight end with a touchdown catch in four straight games since three-time Pro Bowler Charle Young did it over the 1974 and 1975 seasons. Young was actually at the game Sunday, his first trip back to Philadephia in 40 years.
 
• Only two Eagles tight ends have had more touchdowns in an entire season than the six Zach Ertz already has: Pete Retzlaff had eight in 1964 and 1965 and Brent Celek had eight in 2009.
 
Big plays from Wentz
• Carson Wentz’s 53-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery gave him five TD passes of 50 yards or more this year, which halfway through the season is already fourth-most in Eagles history and tied for fifth-most in NFL history after eight games.

• Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, Mack Hollins and Jeffery all have at least one 50-yard TD catch. The last time the Eagles had four guys with a 50-yard TD in the same season was 2006 (Correll Buckhalter, Brian Westbrook, Donte' Stallworth, Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett).
 
• Wentz has now had a passer rating of 83 or higher in nine straight games, the second-longest streak in Eagles history behind Michael Vick's 11-game streak in 2010.
 
• Wentz now has 19 touchdown passes and five interceptions halfway through the season. Only one other quarterback in his second year has had 19 or more TDs and five or fewer INTs in a season and that's his backup, Nick Foles (27-2 in 2013).
 
• Wentz is one of only six QBs in NFL history 24 or younger with 19 touchdowns in the first half of a season. Dan Marino had 24 in 1984, Bobby Layne 20 in 1951 and Derek Carr (2015), Matt Stafford (2011) and Deshaun Watson Wentz did it this year.
 
Weekly Jake Elliott stats
• Jake Elliott's 51-yard field goal Sunday gave him five 50-yard field goals in his first seven career games. That broke the Eagles record of four 50-yarders in a season set last year by Caleb Sturgis.
 
• It's also already the third-most 50-yarders in NFL history by a rookie behind Blair Walsh, who made 10 in 2012, and Greg Zuerlein, who made seven, also in 2012.
 
• Elliott already has the sixth-most 50-yarders in Eagles history, behind only David Akers (15), Sturgis and Tom Dempsey (7) and Paul McFadden and Tony Franklin (6).
 
Miscellaneous facts and figures
• The Eagles have scored 26 or more points in six straight games, matching third third-longest streak in franchise history. They scored 26 in seven straight games both over the 2003 and 2004 seasons and in 2010.

• Corey Clement’s 5.4 yards per carry average on 10 for 54 is the highest by an undrafted Eagles rookie with at least 10 carries since Vaughn Hebron had a 6.6 average vs. the Cardinals in 1993.

• The Eagles' streak of six straight games rushing for 100 or more yards and allowing fewer than 100 yards is the 12th-longest such streak in NFL history.  

• The Eagles on Sunday scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes of a first half for the first time since 2009, when they did it against the Giants on a 54-yard Donovan McNabb TD pass to DeSean Jackson and — after a Quinton Demps interception — McNabb's 23-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin.

• The Eagles have scored 28 or more points in three straight games despite not scoring a first-quarter touchdown in any of them. It's the first time in franchise history that's happened.

Doug Pederson's preseason comparison doesn't look so ridiculous now

usa-doug-pederson-happy.jpg
USA Today Images

Doug Pederson's preseason comparison doesn't look so ridiculous now

When Doug Pederson said back in July that the 2017 Eagles "probably have more talent" than the Super Bowl Packers teams of the 1990s that Pederson played on, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

Millions of eyebrows maybe.
 
The Eagles? Who hadn't won a playoff game since 2008 and were coming off a 7-9 record in Pederson's first season?
 
More talented than a team that went to the playoffs virtually every year from the early 1990s through the mid-2000s behind Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Reggie White and reached back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997, winning one?
 
"I look back on my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs, those Super Bowl runs there," Pederson said on July 17.
 
"And do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?"
 
Seriously, Doug?
 
Six months later, Pederson's comments — which seemed so ridiculous at the time — don't seem so ridiculous, do they?
 
Because here are those 2017 Eagles, sitting 13-3 with a playoff win over the Falcons in the books and a berth Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings despite a rash of injuries to some of their best players.
 
The Eagles haven't lost a game with postseason implications since Carson Wentz was lost for the season, and they're one home win from reaching their third Super Bowl.
 
Pederson, who had two stints backing up Brett Favre with the Packers — from 1996 through 1998 and 2001 through 2004 — was reminded of his comments Friday before practice.
 
"I don't have a crystal ball, obviously, and it's hard to predict," he said. "You'd love to sit here and go, 'Yeah, in the summer, (I thought we were) going to be 13-3 and win the NFC East.' You'd love to be in that situation, or 16-0, or whatever it might be.
 
"I did have a feeling back then when I made that statement that we could be, we had the potential to be a good football team because of the way we've practiced and the talent that we brought to the roster and the progression of Carson in his second year.
 
"And then defensively, the front, the way they performed, and the back end, I saw a lot of the same similarities. So you just have that gut feeling when I made that statement."
 
Back in July, when Pederson made those comments comparing the Eagles to the Packers, he tempered them by saying talent isn't always enough. It takes much more for a team to have success.
 
"I (said) it takes great coaching, teaching, mentoring to also have our guys prepared each week to be in this position," Pederson said. "So all of that has kind of culminated. I think you look back on it and you go, 'Wow, maybe it was a true type of thing.'
 
"But we just keep doing our jobs, keep doing what we've been coached to do. Players play what they can do and what's in their control, and we're here today."

Only 1 Eagle questionable for Sunday

injury-report-eagles.jpg

Only 1 Eagle questionable for Sunday

Veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) is the only Eagles player listed as questionable for this week's game. Everyone else on the 53-man roster is expected to be available. 

Ellerbe, 32, missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday. 

The Eagles' starting MIKE linebacker was also listed as questionable last week and was able to play, so expect him to be good to go. After all, this is the NFC Championship Game. There's no resting for anything else. 

In Minnesota, wide receiver Adam Thielen (lower back) and safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) are both listed as questionable. 

Thielen, the Vikings' top receiver, missed Wednesday's practice and was limited on Thursday and Friday. Just like Ellerbe, there's no saving him for next week. 

Sendejo was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, was a full participant on Friday, but is still technically in the NFL's concussion protocol. He'll need to clear that before he's able to play, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he's optimistic Sendejo will be able to play. 

Meanwhile, third defensive tackle, Shamar Stephen (knee/ankle), missed practice all week and has been ruled out. While Stephen isn't a starter, he played just under 40 percent of the Vikings' snaps this season, so missing him is still a loss.

After practicing indoors on Wednesday and Thursday, the Eagles loaded up on buses and spent their Friday practice outside at Lincoln Financial Field. Head coach Doug Pederson likes to get his guys outside for at least one day per week. 

The Eagles will have a walkthrough on Saturday before they'll be back at the Linc for Sunday's 6:40 p.m. kickoff in the NFC Championship Game.