Over the next two days, we’re going to look at the best and worst performances by running backs in Eagles history.
Two running backs appear on both lists! Which ones? You’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out!
In putting together these lists, I went with just one performance per player. Wanted to give everybody a fair shot!
A couple of these are combo performances, with multiple running backs turning in historic performances in the same game. Because why not?
Anybody missing? Who’s at the top of your list?
1. Steve Van Buren vs. Rams, Dec. 18, 1949
The game: Eagles 14, Rams 0, L.A. Coliseum, 1949 NFL Championship Game
The stats: 31-for-196 rushing
The story: On a day when torrential rain limited Tommy Thompson to 68 passing yards – none in the second half – Van Buren was the workhorse as the Eagles won their second straight NFL championship. Van Buren’s 196 rushing yards to this day are 10th-most in NFL postseason history and stood as an NFL (or NFC) Championship Game record until former Eagle Raheem Mostert ran for 220 yards for the 49ers against the Packers five months ago.
2. LeSean McCoy vs. Lions, Dec. 8, 2013
The game: Eagles 34, Lions 20, Lincoln Financial Field
The stats: 29-for-217, 2 TDs
The story: Early in the fourth quarter, the Lions led 20-14 and Shady was 18-for-69 rushing. Then he turned in one of the greatest quarters in NFL history, romping through the snow 11 times for 148 yards with TDs of 40 and 57 yards in the game’s final 14 ½ minutes. That made him one of only five players in NFL history with two 40-yard TD runs in a fourth quarter. His 217 yards shattered the franchise record.
3. Wilbert Montgomery vs. Cowboys, Jan. 11, 1981
The game: Eagles 20, Cowboys 7, Veterans Stadium
The stats: 26-for-194 rushing, 1-for-14 receiving
The story: With Ron Jaworski struggling through a brutal game (9-for-29, 91 yards, 2 INTs), Dick Vermeil leaned heavily on the running game, and Montgomery came up huge with what remains the 11th-best rushing performance in NFL postseason history. Montgomery’s 42-yard TD on the second play from scrimmage set the tone for the blowout to come and may have been the loudest the Vet ever got.
4. Duce Staley vs. Cowboys, Sept. 3, 2000
The game: Eagles 41, Cowboys 14, Texas Stadium
The stats: 26-for-201 rushing, TD, 4-for-61 receiving
The story: On the hottest day in NFL history – 109 degrees at kickoff – the Eagles established themselves as a legit NFC contender with a wipeout of the Cowboys in the Pickle Juice Game. Staley set a franchise record with 262 scrimmage yards – at the time 14th-most in NFL history - despite leaving the game with 13 ½ minutes left after a 60-yard run. Staley is still one of only 11 players in NFL history with 200 yards rushing and 50 receiving in the same game.
5. LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement vs. Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018
The game: Eagles 41, Patriots 33, U.S. Bank Stadium
The stats: Blount 14-for-90 rushing, TD; Ajayi 9-for-57 rushing; Clement 4-for-100 receiving, TD, 3-for-8 rushing
The story: The Eagles’ incredible three-headed running back monster combined for 255 yards from scrimmage in Super Bowl LII, the most yards in a Super Bowl by a team’s running backs since the Redskins had 288 in 1988, with Timmy Smith (213), Kelvin Bryant (58) and George Rogers (17). The focus was on Nick Foles that day, and deservedly so. But the Eagles’ running backs were massive.
6. Brian Westbrook vs. Giants, Jan. 7, 2007
The game: Eagles 23, Giants 20, Lincoln Financial Field
The stats: 20-for-141 rushing, TD, 2-for-12 receiving
The story: Westbrook was never better than the wild-card win over the Giants in 2006. He had a 49-yard TD in the second quarter and also had a 65-yard punt return negated by a penalty on Tank Daniels. With the game tied at 20 late in the 4th quarter, Westbrook had runs of 11, 5, 5 and 13 yards down to the Giants’ 19 to set up David Akers’ game-winning field goal. He had games with more yards, but in a playoff game without the starting quarterback he carried the team on his back.
7. Swede Hanson vs. Reds, Nov. 6, 1934
The game: Eagles 64, Reds 0, Temple Stadium
The stats: 18-for-190, 2 TDs rushing
The story: When torrential rains postponed the game and Shibe Park was unavailable for the rescheduled date because of the West Philadelphia-Central game, the Eagles-Reds game moved to Temple Stadium at Cheltenham and Vernon, now the site of the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. That’s where the Eagles set an NFL record for points in a game and biggest margin of victory. Hanson, who had played in that stadium for Temple, scored three touchdowns, including a 46-yarder on his first carry of the game. He finished with an NFL-record 190 yards – still seventh-most in Eagles history.
8. Timmy Brown vs. the Cards, Dec. 16, 1962
The game: Cards 45, Eagles 35, Busch Stadium
The stats: 5-for-50 rushing, 5-for-199 receiving, 2 TDs
The story: It was the last day of a miserable three-win season, but it was a huge one for Brown. He finished his first Pro Bowl season with 50 rushing yards on 10 carries and 199 receiving yards on five catches for 249 scrimmage yards – a franchise record until Duce broke it in Dallas. Brown’s 199 receiving yards are fifth-most in NFL history by a back. Brown had TD catches of 60 and 82 yards, one of only three RBs in NFL history with two TD catches of at least 60 yards in the same game.
9. Charlie Garner, Ricky Watters vs. Redskins, Oct. 8, 1995
The game: Eagles 37, Redskins 34, Veterans Stadium
The stats: Garner 9-for-120, 3 TDs, Watters 25-for-139 rushing, 11-90 receiving
The story: Garner and Watters combined for an astounding 349 scrimmage yards. Garner turned nine carries into a ridiculous 120 yards and 3 TDs, including a 55-yard TD on the game’s fifth play. He remains one of only two players with 120 rushing yards and 3 TDs on nine or fewer carries. Watters became the first Eagle in 31 years with at least 90 yards both rushing and receiving in a game with the sixth-most scrimmage yards ever by an Eagle. This is the only time in franchise history the Eagles had two backs rush for 120 yards.
10. Bryce Brown vs. Panthers, Nov. 26, 2012
The game: Panthers 30, Eagles 22, Lincoln Financial Field
The stats: 19-for-178, 2 TDs, 4 catches, 11 yards
The story: Brown had 32 carries in his first 10 NFL games, but with LeSean McCoy hurt, the rookie seventh-round pick exploded for an Eagles rookie-record 178 yards and two TDs on just 19 carries. A week later he added 169 yards against the Cowboys, joining Eric Dickerson and Olandis Gary as one of only three rookies in NFL history with consecutive games of at least 169 yards. Brown didn’t do much more the rest of his career, but for two weeks he was the NFL’s best running back.
Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: