Did you know Greg Lewis played more games in an Eagles uniform than Steve Van Buren?
So did Joselio Hanson, Koy Detmer and Brandon Whiting.
Stats can be revealing, stats can be illuminating, and stats can be thought-provoking.
Sometimes, they’re just ridiculous.
And those are the ones we’re going to focus on today. The stats that make you say, “There’s no WAY that’s true.”
But they’re all true!
THE GOAT (FOR THREE YEARS): Jordan Matthews had more receptions in his first three seasons than 40 of the 41 receivers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Matthews caught 224 passes from 2014 through 2016, the 11th-most in NFL history by any player in his first three seasons. The only Hall of Fame who caught more in his first three seasons is Randy Moss, who had 226 - two more than Matthews. He had more than TWICE as many as Lynn Swann, Don Hutson, Paul Warfield, Harold Carmichael, Michael Irvin, Charlie Joiner, Tim Brown and John Stallworth, among others. Matthews is also the only Eagles WR in the last 30 years with eight or more receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons. He did it in 2014 and 2015. He’s the first since Mike Quick from 1983 through 1987.
BETTER THAN REGGIE? From 1989 through 1992 - the heyday of the Gang Green Defense – Hall of Famer Reggie White not only didn’t have the most sacks in the NFL, he didn’t even have the most sacks on his own team. During that four-year period, when White made 1st-team all-pro three times, he had 55 sacks, second-most of all NFL defensive ends. Who had more? Clyde Simmons had 56.
CHRIS WHO??? The only running backs in franchise history with at least 22 carries in a playoff game are Van Buren, Wilbert Montgomery and … Chris Warren? Van Buren had 31 carries in the 1949 NFL Championship Game, Montgomery had 26 carries in the postseason three times, but the only Eagle with 22 rushing attempts in a playoff game in the last 40 years is Warren, who was 22-for-85 in the Eagles’ wild-card game win over the Buccaneers on New Year’s Eve 2000 at the Vet. The Eagles claimed Warren on waivers from the Cowboys on Dec. 7. He played in one regular-season game, so that Bucs playoff game was his second game in an Eagles uniform. He was 6-for-11 the next week in the loss to the Giants, and that was the last game of his career.
T.O., RANDY MOSS AND … TODD PINKSTON? During the four-year period from 2001 through 2004, much-maligned Todd Pinkston had the 3rd-most receptions of 40 yards or more in the NFL, behind two of the greatest receivers in history. Terrell Owens had 25, Randy Moss 22 and Pinkston 19.
ALREADY IN ELITE COMPANY: Jalen Hurts had at least 335 yards, at least one TD pass and at least 60 rushing yards against both the Cards and Cowboys, in his second and third career starts. He’s the only player in NFL history with consecutive games with 335 yards, a TD and 60 rushing yards. The only player with more such games in an entire career is Hall of Famer Steve Young, who had three from 1985 through 1999. Only Young, Russell Wilson and Hurts have ever had two in their career. After just three career starts, Hurts had more games with 335 yards, a TD and 60 rushing yards than Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick combined in 471 career games.
BILL BRADLEY VS. THE EAGLES: Bill Bradley had more interceptions in 1971 and 1972 (20) than the Eagles had in 2019 and 2020 (19).
HIS CHART STAYED DRY: Doug Pederson, the only Eagles coach to win a Super Bowl, has the 2nd-worst winning percentage among Eagles coaches in the last 35 years. Andy Reid (.583), Rich Kotite (.563), Chip Kelly (.553) and Buddy Ryan (.551) all had higher winning percentages than Pederson (.531). Only Ray Rhodes (.461) is worse during that span.
THE GREATNESS OF HEATH SHERMAN! LeSean McCoy never led the NFL in rushing average. Brian Westbrook didn’t either. Neither did Ricky Watters, Duce Staley, Miles Sanders or Wilbert Montgomery. But Heath Sherman did! Sherman, the Eagles’ 6th-round pick in 1989, averaged an NFL-best 5.2 yards per carry in 1992. Watters was second for the 49ers at 4.9.
LEGENDARY RENO: Reno Mahe actually led the NFL in punt return average in 2005. Yep, Mahe is officially recognized by the NFL as the 2005 punt return leader with a 12.5 average. Mahe had 21 punt returns and barely qualified under the league’s standard of 1.25 punt returns per game, or 20 in a 16-game season. In one game against the Seahawks on a rainy day at the Linc, Mahe returned seven punts for 108 yards. He averaged 11 punt return yards per game the rest of the year.
ERNIE WHO??? If I asked you to guess who has the highest career rushing average in Eagles history among running backs as well as the highest punt return average in franchise history, you’d probably guess Brian Westbrook. I sure would. But it’s actually Ernie Steele, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry and 14.7 yards per punt return from 1942 through 1948. Steele is one of only two players in NFL history to average 5.2 yards per carry and 14 yards per punt return. The other was Spec Sanders of the New York Yankees from 1946 through 1950. Oh yeah, he also had 24 interceptions!
SEND DAWK DEEP: In 2002, Brian Dawkins had as many 50-yard receptions as every Eagles wide receiver combined. Dawkins had that 57-yarder from Brian Mitchell on a fake punt against the Texans. The only 50-yard catch by an Eagles WR in 2002 was Donovan McNabb’s 59-yarder to Antonio Freeman against the Cowboys one week earlier.