The top 10 worst performances ever by Eagles RBs

The top 10 worst performances ever by Eagles RBs

Even the best running backs have really bad days. So do the really bad ones!

Yesterday, we counted down the 10 greatest performances in Eagles history by running backs. Today, we celebrate the 10 worst!

Usual rule applies: No back can be listed more than once. Why? Nobody wants to read about 10 Michael Haddix games! 

1. Steve Van Buren, vs. Browns, Dec. 3, 1950 
The game:
Browns 13, Eagles 7, Cleveland Municipal Stadium
The stats: 10 carries, minus-2 yards
The story: Even Hall of Famers have bad games, and Van Buren had the worst game of his career against the Browns, who a few weeks later won the NFL Championship. Van Buren finished his career with a 4.4 rushing average. Without this game, he would have been at 4.5. The only game in Eagles history where a back had 10 or more carries and negative yards. And the 3rd-worst rushing performance ever by a Hall of Fame running back.

2. Ricky Watters, Sept. 3, 1995, vs. Buccaneers
The game:
Buccaneers 21, Eagles 6, Veterans Stadium
The stats: 17 carries, 37 yards, 2 fumbles
The story: The stats were bad enough, but what made this such a disaster for Ricky in his first game as an Eagle was his notorious explanation for a lack of effort on two late but catchable passes from Randall Cunningham: “Hey, I’m not going to trip up there and get knocked out. For who? For what?” Ricky apologized the next day and went on to have three straight Pro Bowl seasons. But he never did shake the “For Who, for What” tag.

3. Al Pollard, Oct. 19, 1952, vs. Browns
The game:
Browns 49, Eagles 7, Shibe Park
The stats: 5 carries, minus-11 yards
The story: Poor Al Pollard. It’s not easy to average negative 2.2 yards per carry. That’s the fewest yards in Eagles history on five or more carries and 11th-worst in NFL history by a non-quarterback. That one game drops Pollard’s career rushing average from 3.7 to 3.4.

4. Keith Byars, Oct. 26, 1986, vs. Chargers
The game: 
Eagles 23, Chargers 7, Veterans Stadium
The stats: 10 carries, 0 yards, 1 TD
The story: Here’s what Byars’ day looked like in order: +2, -3, -2, +7, +1, 0, -1, -3, -3, +2TD. He’s one of only three players in NFL history – and the only one in the last 65 years – with 10 or more carries, zero or fewer yards and a rushing TD. Byars’ 0 yards is the second-fewest in Eagles history on double-digit carries, two more than Van Buren against the Browns in 1952.

5. DeMarco Murray, Sept. 20, 2015, vs. Cowboys 
The game:
Cowboys 20, Eagles 10, Lincoln Financial Field
The stats: 13 carries, 2 yards
The story: A year earlier, Murray was a 1st-team all-pro and led the NFL in rushing for the Cowboys. But against his former team, he averaged 5.5 inches per carry (although he did catch 5 passes for 53 yards). His 2 yards are the fewest in franchise history on 13 or more carries and 9th-fewest in NFL history. It’s the worst rushing performance ever by a defending NFL rushing champion.

6. LeSean McCoy, Sept. 21, 2014, vs. Redskins
The game:
Eagles 37, Redskins 34, Lincoln Financial Field
The stats: 19 carries, 22 yards
The story: McCoy’s average of 1.16 yards is 5th-lowest in NFL history on 19 or more carries. In the second half, Shady had 14 carries for 11 yards, and in the 4th quarter he was 6-for-4 rushing. McCoy averaged 4.2 yards per carry that year. Without that game, it would have been 4.4. 

7. Michael Haddix, Sept. 22, 1985, vs. Redskins
The game:
Eagles 19, Redskins 6, RFK Stadium
The stats: 14-for-20 rushing, 1 catch, minus-3 yards
The story: Haddix had 38 career games with an average of 2.5 or worse. During his career – from 1983 through 1990 – only one running back (Tony Paige) had more (40). But his performance against the Redskins in 1985 was historic. His 1.4 rushing average is 3rd-worst in Eagles history on a minimum of 14 carries. But factor in his negative-3 receiving yards and you have 15 touches for 17 yards. That’s the 2nd-fewest scrimmage yards in Eagles history on at least 15 touches (read below for the only worse game). He’s one of only eight players in NFL history to average 1.4 yards per game or worse and have minus-3 receiving yards in the same game!

8. Bryce Brown, Dec. 9, 2012, vs. Buccaneers
The game:
Eagles 23, Buccaneers 21, Raymond James Stadium
The stats: 12 carries for 6 yards
The story: This is called coming back down to Earth. In the previous two games, filling in for injured LeSean McCoy, the rookie 7th-round pick rushed 43 times for 347 yards and four TDs. Needless to say it’s the worst performance in NFL history by a back coming off consecutive 165-yard performances. The 4th-lowest rushing average in Eagles history on 12 or more carries.

9. Heath Sherman, Oct. 6, 1991, vs. Buccaneers
The game:
Buccaneers 14, Eagles 13, Tampa Stadium
The stats: 35 carries, 89 yards
The story: When you have Brad Goebel at QB, you have to try to run the ball, and Rich Kotite tried and tried and tried and tried. The Bucs stacked the box, Heath Sherman kept pounding and he never got anywhere. Sherman’s 89 yards are 3rd-fewest in NFL history on 35 or more carries. Best part about it is that we blasted Kotite for giving Sherman 35 carries and Keith Byars and Robert Drummond a combined three carries. So the next week Heath goes 7-for-29 in a loss to the Saints and we ask Kotite why he didn’t get more carries, and Kotite flips out: “Last week it was too many carries, now it’s not enough carries! It’s ABSURD! It’s ABSURD!” 

10. Wilbert Montgomery, Dec. 24, 1978, vs. Falcons
The game:
Falcons 14, Eagles 13 [wild-card game]
The stats: 16 carries, 19 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch, minus-5 yards
The story: Two years later, Montgomery would have one of the greatest games in NFL postseason history. But in the grim loss to the Falcons – that’s the one Mike Michel’s missed PAT cost the Eagles at least overtime – Montgomery had one of the worst games in NFL playoff history. His 19 yards are 3rd-fewest in NFL postseason history on 15 or more carries and his 14 scrimmage yards are the fewest in NFL postseason history and 3rd-fewest in NFL history in any game on at least 17 touches. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 

Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

More on the Eagles

Doug Pederson back coaching after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Doug Pederson back coaching after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Some good news from the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday morning: Doug Pederson is back to work. 

Pederson, 52, had been away from the team facility since early August when he tested positive for COVID-19. He informed his team on the evening of Aug. 2 and had been out since then. In order to return, Pederson had to pass the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. 

While Pederson ran virtual meetings from his home, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley took over all in-person head coaching responsibilities while Pederson was quarantined. 

Before Pederson even tested positive, he spoke about the need for the Eagles to have contingency plans for all players and coaches. The Eagles had to use their contingency plan for him pretty early. 

But Pederson noted he was lucky in a way to contract the virus when he did. In fact, the timing worked out great. The Eagles enter the Gradual Ramp Up Period of training camp on Wednesday, which means Pederson will be able to coach the first practice of the summer in person. 

Despite his positive test, Pederson remained confident about a 2020 season. 

“My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely optimistic,” Pederson said on Aug. 3. “I feel like we’re going to play. I’m confident that we’re going to play. 

“It’s unfortunate. Like I told my team last night, this virus, it holds no prejudices, right? It doesn’t matter. It can affect any one of us. I’m sure many of you have had family members or loved ones or people you know who have been affected by this virus. That part of it doesn’t matter. It’s just the fact that we’ve got to abide by the protocols that are in place. They’re in place for a reason, our safety. Our building is a great place to be. It is a safe place to be for our players and our coaches and all who are involved. 

“I’m looking forward. It’s full-steam ahead for me. Obviously, I’m itching to get back in the building at some point and be around our players and get these guys ready for a season.”

While there’s no list for coaches, the Eagles have placed three players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Of those three, who were placed on the list in late July, Lane Johnson and Nathan Gerry have been cleared to return to action. Only Jordan Mailata remains on the list. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Jason Kelce, Jason Peters already blending their 25 years of NFL experience

Jason Kelce, Jason Peters already blending their 25 years of NFL experience

Jason Kelce and Jason Peters have been teammates on the Eagles’ offensive line for nearly a decade, but 2020 is a new experience. 

Now, they’re lining up next to each other. 

Sure, it’s a bit of an adjustment as two of the longest-tenured Eagles learn how to play next to each other while Peters also learns how to play an entirely new position. 

But if anyone can figure it out, it’s gotta be these two right? 

Between them, Peters and Kelce have 25 years in the NFL, making them the most experienced center-right guard combo in the entire league and it’s not close. The next closest duo belongs to the Steelers, who have Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro (17 years). 

“We’re talking more than we ever have, really, to iron out all these details,” Kelce said on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday. 

I’d watch that TV show. Absolutely. 

Think about the high-level discussions going on right now between two of the smartest and most cerebral offensive linemen in the entire NFL. These are two guys who could probably coach an OL room tomorrow. And they’ve been busy exchanging ideas and techniques. And even though Peters has never played the guard position, he’s still making suggestions and bringing a unique perspective to the Eagles’ interior OL as the two learn to play next to each other. 

Obviously, with JP being new to the position, we’re obviously fast tracking a lot of that,” Kelce said. “We’re trying to iron out how he’s going to step, where he’s going to go, against what kind of defense we’re going to go with, maybe a different aiming point against maybe a different defense where we go a little wider. These are discussions that we’re going to continue to have. 

“It’s been awesome, honestly, to work with Jason Peters. He’s got so much knowledge from playing the game for so long and the ability to try to take all of that knowledge he has at left tackle and now apply it to a new position. He’s not really starting from ground zero. He’s not starting with a lack of reference. He understands the game, he understands angles, he understands footwork. Being able to bounce things off and really ask him questions. 

“Maybe there’s some things at right guard and center that he’s going to be learning throughout his whole thing but he’s already brought up a few things on ways to maybe do something better. Or ‘why aren’t we doing it this way?’ To be able to talk to a guy who has the amount of experience he does and really have those types of conversations, it’s really fun for an older guy.

It’s not a quick process, learning how to play next to another guy. In fact, Kelce said that he still has those same conversations with Isaac Seumalo and Brandon Brooks. So to expect he and Peters to figure all this out in one training camp just isn’t realistic. But they hope to at least get to a point by Sept. 13 where they have a base from which to build. 

Kelce on Tuesday said he had been hoping the Eagles were going to bring back Peters even before Brooks went down with an Achilles tear. Of course that didn’t happen. The Eagles are committed to playing Andre Dillard at left tackle and didn’t bring back Peters until they needed to replace Brooks. 

Brooks, by the way, said last week that he’ll be happy to offer Peters any help he can. … He just doesn’t think Peters will really need it. 

If Peters does need help, there are plenty of people around to lean on. Peters is playing between two Pro Bowlers in Kelce and Lane Johnson. And Kelce said Seumalo has also been a big resource for Peters. 

And Peters is still a big resource for this entire O-line. 

“Yeah, it’s definitely going to make me better in some ways,” Kelce said. “He’s got so much experience, so much knowledge from playing the game. … This is a great learning experience for both of us. I’m going to try to impart as much wisdom as I have playing center. I think all three of us talking about things, how things happen on the interior. 

“I’m excited to see how all three of us grow and get better and how we go about having success.” 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles