Rasul Douglas

Roob Stats: Just how historic has the Eagles' run defense been so far?

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Roob Stats: Just how historic has the Eagles' run defense been so far?

This week's edition of Roob Stats covers some historic run defense, more record-breaking from Jake Elliott, Carson Wentz's latest history-making performance and much more!

We start with some remarkable stats regarding the Eagles' run defense!

• The Eagles have allowed just 394 rushing yards in six games. That's the fewest they've allowed in their first six games since 1954 — a span of 63 years! They allowed 342 the first six games that year. The only other seasons they've allowed fewer rushing yards at this point of the season were 1943 (384 yards) and 1944 (393 yards).

• Those 394 rushing yards allowed are also the fewest any team has given up six games into a season since the 2010 Steelers allowed 382.

• The Eagles are only the 20th team in NFL history with at least 750 rushing yards gained and fewer than 400 rushing yards allowed after six games and the first since the 2007 Titans.

• Kareem Hunt remains the only running back to rush for more than 35 yards against the Eagles this year. Of the 394 rushing yards against the Eagles, 122 were by quarterbacks and 32 by wide receivers. So opposing running backs have carried 82 times for 240 yards — which is 2.9 yards per carry and 40 yards per game.

• The Eagles have held four straight teams to 80 or fewer rushing yards. That equals their longest streak since 1992, when they did it five straight weeks. The franchise record is nine straight games, set over the 1990 and 1991 seasons. According to the Pro Football Reference database, that's the third-longest streak ever.

• The Eagles are on pace to allow 1,050 rushing yards this year, which would be the fourth-fewest since the league went to a 16-game season in 1978, behind only the 2000 Ravens (970), 2006 Vikings (985) and 2010 Steelers (1,004).

Going back farther, the 65.7 rushing yards per game the Eagles are allowing puts them on pace to allow the seventh-fewest rushing yards per game since 1940:

47.2 … 1942 Bears (519 in 11 games)

55.5 … 1944 Eagles (555 in 10 games)

60.6 … 2000 Ravens (970 in 16 games)

61.6 … 2006 Vikings (985 in 16 games)

62.8 … 2010 Steelers (1,004 in 16 games)

65.6 … 1964 Bills (918 in 14 games)

65.7 … 2017 Eagles (1,050 in 6 games)

How about some Carson Wentz nuggets?
• With just three interceptions in 207 pass attempts, Wentz has lowered his career interception ratio to 2.09 every 100 attempts. That is the eighth-best ratio in NFL history among quarterbacks who've thrown at least 750 passes. Just ahead of him? Former teammate and former Ram Sam Bradford (1.97). Just behind him? Current teammate and former Ram Nick Foles (2.10).

Here's the top 10:

1.55 - Aaron Rodgers

1.62 - Tyrod Taylor

1.77 - Colin Kaepernick

1.79 - Derek Carr

1.82 - Tom Brady

1.95 - Russell Wilson

1.97 - Sam Bradford

2.09 - Carson Wentz

2.10 - Nick Foles

2.11 - Neil O’Donnell

• Wentz had never thrown three touchdowns in a game and then he did it twice in five days with four against the Cards and three against the Panthers. He's the first Eagles quarterback to throw three TDs in consecutive games since Foles in 2013. Before that, Donovan McNabb did it twice and Bubby Brister did it in 1994.

• Wentz has had a passer rating of 90 or higher in four straight games, two shy of the franchise record of six set in 1980 by Ron Jaworski and matched in 2006 by  McNabb and 2010 by Michael Vick. The only longer active streak in the NFL is Alex Smith's streak of six straight games.

• With four TD passes against the Cards and three against the Panthers, Wentz matched the fourth-most TD passes in a two-game span in Eagles history:

10 - Nick Foles, 2013

8 - Adrian Burk, 1954

8 - Donovan McNabb, 2004

7 - Bobby Thomason, 1953

7 - Sonny Jurgensen, 1961

7 - Randall Cunningham 1989

7 - Donovan McNabb, 2005

7 - Carson Wentz, 2017

• Wentz's 13 touchdowns six games into a season equals the most by an Eagles quarterback in 57 years. Adrian Burk threw 14 in 1954 and Norm Van Brocklin threw 14 in 1960. Norm Snead (1967) and McNabb (2004, 2006) both also threw 13 in the first six games.

And the obligatory Jake Elliott stats!
• Elliott has made three field goals of at least 50 yards so far. David Akers, the greatest kicker in Eagles history and an Eagles Hall of Famer, never made three 50-yarders in a season for the Eagles …

• With 49 points in five games, Elliott is on pace for 156 points in 15 games this year. That would break the NFL rookie scoring record of 150 points set in 2014 by former Eagles kicker Cody Parkey. Elliott is also on pace for 36 field goals, which would break the NFL rookie record of 35, set in 1983 by Ali Haji-Sheikh of the Giants and matched in 2012 by Blair Walsh of the Vikings.

• Elliott leads the NFL with seven field goals from at least 45 yards. He's 7 for 8 from 45 and out. Only two other kickers have more than four field goals this year from at least 45 yards.

• Elliott has made three field goals of at least 50 yards. Only six kickers in Eagles history have made more. Elliott has played in five games.

Here's our first-ever Rasul Douglas stats section!
• Douglas and Patrick Robinson both picked off Cam Newton inside the 25-yard line Thursday night. This is the first time the Eagles had two INTs inside the opposing 25-yard-line in the same game in 14 years. On Oct. 5, 2003, in a game against the Redskins, Rod Hood picked off Pat Ramsey at the 23 and N.D. Kalu intercepted him at the 15.

• Another Rod Hood stat? Sure! Douglas and Jalen Mills on Thursday night became the first Eagles cornerback duo 23 years old or younger with INTs in the same game since Hood and Lito Sheppard victimized Jake Delhomme — also of the Panthers — at the Linc on Oct. 17, 2004.

And some miscellaneous Eagles stats!
• This one is courtesy of NBC Sports Philadelphia's Corey Seidman: With his three interceptions Thursday night, Cam Newton became the first quarterback ever to throw three INTs against the Eagles three games in a row. In fact, he's only the sixth QB with three total games against the Eagles with three or more INTs — and he's not even in their division. The others are Eli Manning and Bobby Layne (four games each with three INTs vs. the Eagles) and Troy Aikman, Joe Theismann and Billy Kilmer (three games).

• The Eagles have scored at least 20 points in 10 straight games. That's the third-longest streak in franchise history.

• Nelson Agholor's 72-yard TD against the Cards and 24-yarder against the Panthers made him the first Eagle with TDs of 20 yards or more in back-to-back games since Jeremy Maclin in 2014.

• The Eagles are one of only six teams in the NFL that hasn’t lost a game by more than a touchdown this year. The others are the Chiefs, Bills, Falcons, Lions and Rams. Going back to last year, they’ve played 10 straight games without losing by more than a touchdown. That’s the third-longest current streak in the NFL and their longest since an 18-game streak in 2011 and 2012.

• The Chiefs have played 33 straight games going into Sunday without a loss of more than seven points (36-21 at the Bengals in 2015), and the Falcons have gone 11 straight.

10 most surprising Eagles from NFC East-leading 5-1 start

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10 most surprising Eagles from NFC East-leading 5-1 start

We all pretty much knew Malcolm Jenkins would have another big year. We all pretty much knew Carson Wentz would improve dramatically, Zach Ertz would have a career season and Brandon Graham would have success getting after the quarterback.
 
Then there are the surprises. On this team, there've been a ton of them.
 
The Eagles, at 5-1, are already just two wins short of last year's total and have more wins than the rest of the NFC East combined.
 
Let's take a look at the 10 biggest surprises so far this year on this first-place Eagles team. (And don't look for Nelson Agholor on this list. His performance may be surprising to some people but not to me!)
 
1. Patrick Robinson
Honestly, Robinson's career looked like it was over this summer. He was with his fourth team in four years, and he was so bad early in training camp and the Eagles had so many promising young corners you had to wonder if there was even a roster spot for Robinson. But not only did he make the team and earn a starting spot when Ronald Darby got hurt, he's played at such a consistently high level you can make a case he's been the Eagles' Defensive MVP so far. He's got a team-high nine knockdowns, two interceptions and he's just been consistently solid in coverage.
 
2. LeGarrette Blount
Maybe it's not a huge surprise Blount has been so productive because he did score 18 touchdowns for the Patriots last year. But the surprise is his 5.6 yards-per-carry average — second-best in the league and tops in the NFC among regular backs (at least eight carries per game). Blount averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year and hasn't been over 4.5 since 2013. And he's 30 now. That 5.6 figure is fourth-highest in NFL history by a running back in his 30s after six games. With Darren Sproles out, Donnel Pumphrey struggling throughout camp and now on the shelf and Wendell Smallwood out the last couple games as well, the Eagles have really needed Blount, and he's responded in a huge way. He's giving the Eagles way more than anybody expected.
 
3. Rasul Douglas
Injuries forced the Eagles to use Douglas in Week 2 after he was inactive on opening day, and he's been starting ever since. Douglas has given up some plays — what rookie cornerback hasn't? — but despite less than world-class speed he's shown an ability to cover, tackle and support the run. Douglas needs to be more consistent, but he's got two interceptions in five games — the first Eagles corner with two INTs in his first five career games since Eric Allen — and he's only going to get better.
 
4. Jake Elliott
What a story. The Bengals draft Elliott in the fifth round, risk losing him by placing him on the practice squad, then Caleb Sturgis gets hurt, the Eagles sign Elliott, and he proceeds to make three kicks of 50 yards or more in his first five games — including a game-winning 61-yarder, the third-longest walk-off field goal in NFL history. Despite not playing on opening day, Elliott is fourth in the NFL in scoring, with 49 points. He's 12 for 14 overall, including 10 straight makes. He's already one of the most accomplished long-range kickers in Eagles history. And he's played five games. 
 
5. Mychal Kendricks
Kendricks' once-promising career seemed to fizzle out the last couple years. Check out his playing time his first five NFL seasons: 88.5 percent in 2012 (under Juan Castillo and Todd Bowles), then 82.6 percent, 65.5 percent and 51.6 percent in 2013 through 2015 (under Bill Davis) and down to 26.7 percent last year under Jim Schwartz. A downward spiral. But Kendricks forced the Eagles to play him with a fantastic preseason, and he's backed that up with some really solid play so far this year. Kendricks had his best game in years Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, with 15 total tackles, a tackle for loss and two special teams tackles. He played 55 snaps — his most in two years — and is now at 52 percent for the season. It's been a long time since we've seen Kendricks play at this level, and it's safe to say few people saw it coming.
 
6. Tim Jernigan
Hard to believe after watching these first six games that the Ravens didn't want Jernigan back. From what he's shown so far, he's a big-time player. Why would the Ravens give up on a 24-year-old defensive lineman with this much potential? Apparently, they felt he wasn't consistent enough. But if he's able to continue delivering the type of play that he has so far, it was a steal for the Eagles. Jernigan already has six tackles for loss, 1½ sacks and four hurries, not to mention stout play against the run all year. He's been way better than advertised.
 
7. Chris Long
Any notion the Eagles just brought Long in for leadership and emergency depth was quickly dispelled when we started to see him play. Long has a lot left. He's averaging 28 snaps, is tied for second on the team with 2.0 sacks and played a season-high 41 snaps in a big way Thursday night down in Charlotte. Long, now 32 years old, can still play.
 
8. Mack Hollins
When training camp began, Hollis was probably behind Jordan Matthews, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner, Shelton Gibson and maybe even Bryce Treggs. So he was eighth-team. Now the rookie fifth-round pick is working his way up the Eagles' wide receiving hierarchy. He hasn't played a lot — about 10 snaps per game — but he's got five catches on five targets for five first downs, including a big 20-yarder Thursday night against the Panthers. Keep an eye on Hollins. He's going to be a good one.
 
9. Jason Kelce
Kelce's performance hasn't been a surprise to everybody, but there was certainly a large contingent of people who felt the veteran center should be released this offseason or preseason after his level of play dropped last year. But Kelce has been terrific in the middle of the NFL's No. 4-ranked offense and No. 5-ranked running game. So far a resurgent year for the two-time Pro Bowler.
 
10. Corey Clement
Down three running backs — Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood — the Eagles have asked a lot of Clement, and the undrafted rookie has made some nice contributions, including a 15-yard touchdown run against the Giants, a 22-yard catch and run against the Cards and a 35-yard kickoff return against the Giants. It's rare to get much of anything from rookie tailbacks, but Clement has done a nice job taking advantage of his opportunities.

Fletcher Cox back to his dominating ways as Eagles win showdown

Fletcher Cox back to his dominating ways as Eagles win showdown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Last June, the Eagles handed Fletcher Cox a six-year, $102.6 million extension. 

He was worth every penny on Thursday night.

After missing two games with a calf injury, Fletcher Cox wasn't just active for the Eagles' 28-23 road win over the Panthers (see 10 observations). He was dominant. 

"S---, it felt good," his fellow defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said. "It felt like he's back to his normal self. Dominating, doing what he do."

Cox came into Thursday night as a game-time decision — he had missed two straight games and hadn't played since leaving the Giants game — but after testing out his calf during pregame warmups, the Eagles decided to play him. 

If Cox was healthy enough to play, he was going to play in Thursday's battle of 4-1 teams. 

"He was playing," head coach Doug Pederson said. "There was no way I could sit him tonight. This was too important of a game."

With Cox's help, the Eagles improved to 5-1 and have the best record in the entire NFC. Without Cox, that would have been much harder on Thursday night. 

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle finished with two tackles, half a sack, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed (see breakdown). More importantly, he was an absolute force inside. The same force the Eagles have come to expect from him over the last few years. 

"It felt good just to be back out there, to be back with my teammates," Cox said. "Felt pretty good and went out and finished the ballgame, which was the most important thing."

Cox's biggest play of the game came in the second quarter when the Panthers were clinging to a 10-3 lead. On 3rd-and-5, Cox looked like he had Carolina right guard Trai Turner on roller skates. Cox pushed the 315-pound guard like he was a bundle of feathers right into Cam Newton's lap. 

That forced a bad throw that was intercepted by Rasul Douglas (see rookie report). The Eagles scored a touchdown seven plays later to tie the game at 10-10. 

"I just bulled the guard into the quarterback's lap and went after the throwing arm," Cox said. "I actually thought it was a strip but I turned around and saw Rasul get the ball. Every play is a big play, especially plays like that."

Cox thought he got a strip sack, while Chris Long was on the field and thought he got a good enough jump to maybe get a sack of his own. 

But Cox beat him to the quarterback.

"Of course, Fletch is just bullying the guard," Long said, "And he's just that type of game-changing player. He can absolutely alter every play on the field."

Cox was a big reason why Newton threw three interceptions on Thursday and he was a big reason why the Panthers had just nine rushing yards that didn't come from their quarterback. 

The thing is, the Eagles' defensive line actually played pretty well in the last two weeks without Cox. Beau Allen filled in and did a fine job. Jernigan started to play at another level. And the rotation seemed to work. 

But they didn't have Cox. And he's almost impossible to replace. 

"He's so dominating in there, pushing the pocket, run and pass, and it was great to have him out there tonight," Pederson said. "He's another one of those leaders on the team that you lean on. He battled through his injury, put that aside for the team tonight and did an outstanding job."