The Eagles are off to an unexpectedly hot start this season, which has produced some unexpectedly impressive numbers. I took a look at a few. All stats and box scores are courtesy of the indomitable, invaluable folks at www.Pro-Football-Reference.com
For the first time in 82 years, the Eagles have started the season without allowing a passing touchdown in the first three games of the season.
The last time the Eagles managed to go without allowing a passing touchdown in the first three games of the season was 1934, their second season as a franchise.
In Week 1, on September 16, 1934, the Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers, 19-6. The Packers scored two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter and kicked two field goals, and Swede Hanson scored an 81-yard rushing touchdown for the Eagles in the third quarter, their only points of the game.
In Week 2, on September 26, 1934, the Eagles beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 17-0. Swede Hanson ran for two more touchdowns, one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter, and Reds Weiner kicked a 17-yard field goal for good measure in the fourth quarter.
In Week 3, on October 7, 1934, the Eagles lost to the Pirates, 9-7. The Pirates kicked a field goal in the first quarter, and then the game remained scoreless until the fourth quarter, when Angelo Brovelli scored a five-yard touchdown for the Pirates to take a 9-0 lead. The Eagles’ Dan Barnhart threw a four-yard touchdown to Bob Gonya later in the fourth quarter to narrow the gap to 9-7, but the Eagles lost the game to fall to 1-2.
The Eagles finished that season 4-7. They allowed just one passing touchdown in those 11 games, a 47-yard touchdown pass from Jack Grossman to Ralph Kercheval in a 10-7 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers in Week 8. (Kercheval also kicked the extra point, and a field goal earlier in the game. He scored all 10 of Brooklyn’s points.)
In 1934, the Eagles were coached by Lud Wray, which is a very cool name. In 2016, the Eagles’ defense is coached by Jim Schwartz, a cool name and a cool guy.
In summation, yay, defense.
Ryan Mathews ranks 33rd in the NFL in individual rush yards. He’s also carried the ball 33 times, for 104 yards. Numbers synergy!
The most impressive part of Mathews ranking 33rd, the highest of any Eagles player, is where the Eagles stand in the league’s team rushing stats. The Eagles are 10th in the league in team rushing with 358 yards on 96 attempts. They’re just one yard behind Buffalo, whose LeSean McCoy (227 yards on 48 attempts) ranks ninth in individual rush yards.
Incredibly, the Eagles are the only team in the Top 10 in the NFL in team rushing without a single player in the Top 25 in individual rush yards. Mathews ranks 33rd with 104 yards, Wendell Smallwood ranks 38th with 96 yards, and Kenjon Barner ranks 42nd with 86 yards.
They don’t have anyone near the top of the charts, but they have three rushers very close together, which has proven more than effective as a compliment to Carson Wentz.
The number of teams in the NFL with fewer than six sacks. In three games, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham have combined for six sacks on their own, three from Cox and three from Graham.
For the record, that’s half the league with fewer sacks than Cox and Graham have combined for in the first three games of the season. Included in those teams? All three teams — the Browns, Bears, and Steelers — the Eagles have beaten this season, as well as two division foes in the Giants and the Cowboys. (Washington has seven sacks this season.)
Cox is on pace to surpass his career-best of 9.5 sacks in a single season, which he set last season. Graham is also on pace to far surpass his career-best of 6.5 sacks in a single season, which he set last season.
As a team, the Eagles are tied for third in the league with 10 team sacks.