We’re sitting in the press box at the old Mile High Stadium in Denver watching the destruction get worse and worse.
A 20-yard Terrell Davis TD run. Bubby Brister TD passes to Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe. Another Davis TD run.
Bobby Hoying is 2-for-7. The Eagles have minus-one rushing yards. Davis already has 120 rushing yards.
It’s 28-0 Broncos at the end of the first quarter.
That 28-point deficit remains tied for third-largest in NFL history after one quarter.
So now it’s early in the second quarter, and Hugh Douglas stops Davis for a two-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 deep in Broncos territory, and Tom Rouen comes out to punt for the first time.
But William Thomas blocks the punt out of the end zone for a safety, making the score 28-2.
That’s when Ron Reed of the Inquirer, in his distinctive booming baritone voice, blurts out, "Only 13 more of those and we're right back in it!!"
Cracked up the entire press box.
The final score was 41-16, and that remains one of the most pathetic defensive performances in Eagles history.
Here’s a look at the top 10 worst defensive performances in Eagles history, listed in chronological order. How many do you remember?
Tomorrow, the 10 greatest defensive performances in Eagles history!
Bears 49, Eagles 14
Shibe Park, Nov. 30, 1941
What’s amazing about this game is that the Eagles were up 14-0 early in the third quarter. The Bears scored an NFL-record 49 points in the second half, including 28 in the fourth quarter. The 49-point second-half scoring differential remains an NFL record 79 years later. No other team in NFL history has led by 14 points at halftime and lost by more than 25 points.
Packers 49, Eagles 0
Franklin Field, Nov. 11, 1962
Two years after the Eagles beat the Packers in the NFL Championship Game on the same field, Vince Lombardi and the Packers handed the Eagles their worst shutout loss since the first game in franchise history — a 56-0 loss to the Giants in 1933 — and the third-most lopsided home shutout loss in NFL history. Bart Starr and the Packers piled up an incredible 628 yards, to this day the 12th-most in NFL history. The 49-point margin of defeat is tied for third-largest in franchise history.
Cowboys 56, Eagles 7
Cotton Bowl, Oct. 9, 1966
Four years later, the Cowboys outdid the Packers, amassing a staggering 652 yards against the Eagles, to this day the the seventh-most in NFL history. Don Meredith threw for 394 yards and five touchdowns, three of them to Bob Hayes, before giving way to Jerry Rhome. This remains one of only four games in NFL history where a team has had 200 rushing yards and 400 passsing yards. Meredith and Joe Montana are the only QBs to throw 5 TDs and 0 INTs with at least 350 yards against the Eagles. The 49-point margin of defeat equals the third-biggest in Eagles history.
Cowboys 49, Eagles 14
Cotton Bowl, Oct. 19, 1969
Craig Morton threw five touchdowns in the first half, three to Lance Rentzel, as the Eagles fell behind 42-7 by halftime. Morton would have set the NFL record for first-half touchdowns, but Daryle Lamonica of the Raiders threw six the same day against the Bills. The Cowboys’ 42 points by halftime are still 10th-most in NFL history.
Giants 62, Eagles 10
Yankee Stadium, Nov. 26, 1972
The most points ever scored against the Eagles, the most lopsided loss in Eagles history and still the 10th-most points ever allowed in an NFL game. The Giants rested their starters in the second half and still scored 24 points behind backup QB Randy Johnson. The Giants netted 503 yards — 243 rushing, 260 passing — and scored at least 10 points in every quarter. Eagles coach Ed Khayat and GM Pete Retzlaff were both fired three weeks later.
49ers 38, Eagles 28
Veterans Stadium, Sept. 24, 1989
Joe Montana’s stats: 11-for-12, 227 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs. Those were his stats in the fourth quarter. Montana threw four fourth-quarter TD passes in the span of 11 and a half minutes to rally the 49ers back from 11 points down. The 49ers netted 262 yards in the fourth quarter. It's one of only eight times in NFL history a team held an opponent to 10 or fewer points through three quarters and allowed 38 in the game.
Jaguars 38, Eagles 21
Alltel Stadium, Oct. 12, 1997
This was the game James Stewart tied an NFL record with three rushing TDs in the first quarter and finished one shy of an NFL record set in 1929 with five total rushing TDs. He only had three other rushing TDs the rest of the season! The final score wasn’t as lopsided as some of these other games, but it was 35-7 midway through the fourth quarter before Ty Detmer was benched for Rodney Peete and the Eagles got a couple garbage TDs. This was historic domination of a defense by a mediocre running back.
Broncos 41, Eagles 16
Mile High Stadium, Oct. 4, 1998
This was the Willie T. blocked punt game. The Eagles were buried in a miserable 3-13 season, but they went to Denver thinking they had a shot at the Broncos with John Elway injured and Brister starting at quarterback. Wrong. The Broncos led 21-0 after 13 ½ minutes and outgained the Eagles 242-16 in the first quarter.
Buccaneers 45, Eagles 17
Lincoln Financial Field, Nov. 22, 2015
This game symbolized everything that was wrong with the Chip Kelly Era. Jameis Winston of all people threw five touchdowns and no interceptions, Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards, and a Buccaneers team that finished 6-10 and ranked 20th in the NFL in offense humiliated the Eagles in front of their home crowd, scoring 45 points — second-most in franchise history — and netting 521 yards. Winston is the only opposing quarterback ever to throw 5 TDs and 0 INTs against the Eagles in Philadelphia, and Martin’s 235 yards are only two off the most the Eagles have ever allowed (Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown). Kelly was fired a few weeks later.
Saints 48, Eagles 7
New Orleans Superdome, Nov. 18, 2018
The 41-point difference made this the worst loss ever by a defending Super Bowl champion and the seventh-biggest blowout loss in franchise history. The Eagles were just manhandled by the Saints, allowing 546 yards, eighth-most in franchise history, and getting outscored 24-0 after halftime. The Eagles played the Saints much tougher in the playoffs six weeks later in the same stadium and very nearly beat them, but the first meeting was an embarrassment for a team that had won the Super Bowl 9 ½ months earlier.
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