Jason Witten

Crazy Miles Sanders numbers and more in this week's Roob's Stats!

Crazy Miles Sanders numbers and more in this week's Roob's Stats!

We could do Miles Sanders stats all day and all night. The guy is a human stats machine, but we’ve got years of Miles Sanders stats to look forward to, so we’re going to try to spread out the wealth.

So in this week’s edition of Roob Stats we highlight Sanders but also some Greg Ward, some Carson Wentz, some Zach Ertz and much more.

MILES STANDS ALONE: Only seven NFL players have at least one 40-yard catch and one 40-yard run this year. Only one player has TWO of each. Miles Sanders, of course. His four total 40-yard offensive plays are also most by any NFL running back and more than all Eagles wide receivers combined [DeSean Jackson 2, Nelson Agholor 1]. He’s the first Eagles running back with four 40-yard plays in a season since LeSean McCoy had six in 2013.

ALREADY TIED WITH B-WEST: With his 65-yarder against the Bills and 56-yarder Sunday, Sanders already has as many total runs of at least 55 yards over the last 25 years as any Eagle other than McCoy (5) and his position coach, Duce Staley (3). Bryce Brown and Ricky Watters also had two.

PILING UP THE FIRST DOWNS: The Eagles have recorded 27 or more first downs in consecutive games for the first time in their last 145 games. The last time they did that was the first two weeks of 2011 [27 vs. the Rams and Falcons].

AND HE’S NOT NAMED JACKSON: Greg Ward’s 18 catches so far are the 6th-most in franchise history by a player in his first five career games (and he didn’t play on offense in the first one).

29 … Keith Jackson [1988]
23 … DeSean Jackson [2008]
21 … Harold Jackson [1969]
20 … Bud Grant [1952]
19 … Jordan Matthews [2014]
18 … Greg Ward [2019]
18 … Lee Bouggess [1970]
18 … Charle Young [1973]

14 AND COUNTING: Carson Wentz completed his last 14 passes of the game Sunday. He takes the 6th-longest streak of consecutive completions in Eagles history into the Dallas game:

25 … Nick Foles [vs. Redskins, 2018]
24 … Donovan McNabb [vs. Giants/Packers, 2014]
18 … Donovan McNabb [vs. Lions, 2007]
15 … Carson Wentz [vs. Panthers, 2018]
15 … Donovan McNabb [vs. Steelers, 2008]
14 … Carson Wentz [vs, Redskins, 2019]

WINNING THE HARD WAY: Sunday’s win over the Redskins was only the 6th in franchise history in which the Eagles didn’t record a sack or an interception. Sacks have been an official NFL stat since 1982. The Eagles are 6-16 since then when they don’t have a sack, and that’s actually the best record in the NFL. Overall, NFL teams are 151-939 [.139] in games when they don’t have a sack or interception, according to Pro Football Reference.

SOMEBODY COVER THE ROOKIE: Only seven rookie receivers have ever had 125 yards in a game once against the Eagles. Terry McLaurin has now done it twice. McLaurin’s 255 total yards this year are 3rd-most ever by a rookie in a single season against the Eagles. Hall of Famer Bob Hayes of the Cowboys had 283 in 1965 [177, 106] and Anthony Carter of the Vikings had 256 in 1985 [124, 132].

MOVING UP TO #13 ALL-TIME: With five catches Sunday, Zach Ertz increased his career total to 521 and is now tied for 13th in NFL history with Rob Gronkowski. He’s only 26 receptions out of 10th place and only 93 out of the all-time top-5.

CHASING JASON WITTEN: With three catches, Ertz will break Jason Witten’s NFL record for most receptions ever by a tight end in his first seven seasons. Witten caught 523 from 2003 through 2009. Ertz has 521 with two games left.

THIRD-DOWN BEASTS: Sunday’s game will feature the top two teams in the NFL on third down. The Cowboys have converted 48.6 percent [85-for-175] and the Eagles are at 47.0 percent [94-for-200]. The Cowboys’ figure is highest by any NFL team since the Chargers converted 49 percent in 2013, and it’s their highest since they were at 48.8 percent in 2006. The Eagles’ 47.0 percent is highest on record (since 1991). The highest since then is 43.5 percent in 2014.

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Jason Witten is coming out of retirement and returning to Cowboys, but does he have anything left?

ap_jason_witten_cowboys.jpg
AP Images

Jason Witten is coming out of retirement and returning to Cowboys, but does he have anything left?

INDIANAPOLIS — There’s good news and bad news, Eagles fans. 

Good news: You won’t have to listen to Jason Witten as an analyst on Monday Night Football in 2019. 

Bad news: He’ll face the Eagles twice. 

The Cowboys shocked the NFL world on Thursday afternoon, announcing that Witten is coming out of retirement and will play for them in 2019. It will be his 16th NFL season after one dismal year in the broadcast booth. 

Witten, 36, became the butt of jokes during his one year with ESPN, but he is a future Hall of Fame tight end. Even though he’s getting up there in age, Witten was incredibly durable during the first 15 years of his career. He missed one game in 15 seasons. 

“The fire inside of me to compete and play this game is just burning too strong,” Witten said in a statement released by the Cowboys. “This team has a great group of rising young stars, and I want to help them make a run at a championship. This was completely my decision, and I am very comfortable with it. I’m looking forward to getting back in the dirt.”

So, will Witten really help the Cowboys? Maybe. 

Without Witten, the Cowboys went 10-6 in 2018 and beat out the Eagles to win the NFC East title. They even won a wild card game before losing to the Rams in the divisional round. 

In his last NFL season in 2017, Witten caught 63 passes for 560 yards and five touchdowns. He’s not exactly the All-Pro he once was, but he might be able to help. Even though this seems like a lot: 

The Cowboys also used a fourth-round pick last year on TE Dalton Schultz, so perhaps Witten can help bring him along. 

In his career, Witten has 152 catches, 1,642 yards and eight touchdowns against the Eagles in 29 career games. 

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As he chases his records, Zach Ertz reflects on Jason Witten's influence

As he chases his records, Zach Ertz reflects on Jason Witten's influence

Long before he was a really, really bad TV color analyst, Jason Witten was a really, really good NFL tight end. 

And that's the one Zach Ertz has always looked up to.

As the Eagles prepare to face the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Ertz continues his assault on several of Witten's records, most notably most catches in a season by a tight end.

With Ertz playing Sunday afternoon in the stadium Witten called home from 2009 through 2017, it's a good time to take a look at the relationship between these two high-octane tight ends.

"I've studied him for so long, finding the intricacies of how he ran routes from the moment I came into the league," Ertz said this week. "He was the guy I was always watching because it seemed like on third down, he was always getting his number called. He was always attacking leverage. So I really just modeled my game after him. There are some differences, but there are also a lot of similarities. I've said it since I was 16, he was the guy that was always on TV in California. He was the perfect guy for me to watch because I got to see at 16 years old how a tight end should play. I have the ultimate respect for him, and we have a good relationship. I wish he didn't play for the Cowboys, but it was fun playing against him too for a couple of years."
 
Ertz has 93 catches this year. He needs 17 to tie and 18 to break Witten's record for catches in a season by a tight end.

Tony Gonzalez (1,233) and Witten (1,151) are also the only tight ends ever with 1,000 career receptions. 

Ertz, with 21 more catches these last four games, will have the most catches in history by a tight end in his first six seasons. Jimmy Graham (434) and Witten (429) currently have the most. Ertz is third with 414.

The Eagles face the Cowboys at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium in a game they desperately need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Witten retired after the 2017 season and is now a color analyst on Monday Night Football.

Witten played 15 years in the NFL but Ertz is the only player he ever gave his jersey to.

"He told me in the past, it wasn't because he was my favorite tight end growing up," Ertz said. "He said it was because he really respected the way I played the game and how I was always trying to get better. 

"He said he was watching my game from the moment I came into the league, and that I was one of the guys he would study in the offseason. Being the only guy he's traded a jersey with is honestly special. Obviously, everyone knows how I feel about him. I'm excited for the game in Dallas."

Ertz, also as active in the community as any NFL player through his Ertz Family Foundation, has already had a remarkable career, with over 400 catches in just six seasons along with two of the biggest plays in the Super Bowl — a 4th-down catch and the game-winning TD later on the same drive.

If he can break Witten's single-season record for tight ends it would be yet another remarkable accomplishment and one that would have special meaning for both Ertz and Witten.

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