What a dumb season of Philadelphia Eagles football.
They came into a COVID-ravaged 2020 season as the only franchise with continuity at head coach, quarterback and general manager in the NFC East and, somehow, finished in last place in one of the worst divisions in NFL history.
It was an awful 4-11-1 campaign from start to finish that will be remembered for its off-the-field soap operas as much as its on-the-field disasters. When a season goes south like this, the numbers usually aren’t pretty, and that certainly is the case with this mess. Not a single offensive player had what could be considered a “good” year, and perhaps only one or two defenders can claim such a moral victory.
Here are the 10 most ridiculously awful statistics from the 2020 Eagles season. You may want a bucket nearby.
Carson Wentz’ Passer Rating
Wentz did not play in the team’s final four games, obviously, but in the 12 games he did play, he compiled a passer rating of 72.8. Only one QB in the league had a lower rating, Sam Darnold of the Jets, at 72.7.
That’s right, only one-tenth of a point kept Wentz from being the worst-rated passer in the NFL this season. No matter what was going on around him, his level of play this year was far worse than it had a right to be, and his benching was justified. The reasons for Wentz’ fall from grace are both too voluminous to enumerate here and, at the same time, mysterious. It’s inconceivable that a player who posted ratings of 79.3, 101.9, 102.2, and 93.1 in his first four seasons would sink to Trubisky-esque levels, yet here we are.
Eagles Team Passing Yards
It’s long been known Jeffrey Lurie loves a pass-happy offense and, in today’s NFL, it’s easier than ever to throw the football. And yet, out of 32 NFL teams, Eagles QBs combined to throw for 3,327 yards, 5th-fewest in the NFL.
DeSean Jackson’s Snap Count
So, DeSean Jackson’s second season with the team was even less fun than the first.
Jackson has been a ghost since he returned to Philadelphia and, in 2020, was on the field for just 15.9% of the team’s offensive snaps. He hauled in just 14 balls for 236 yards which included his lone touchdown, an 81-yard spike two weeks ago against Dallas in which he somersaulted into the end zone only never to be heard from again. The aging former star simply could not keep himself out of the trainer’s room, and it’s unlikely he’ll get a chance to redeem himself in Philadelphia next year.
Miles Sanders Receiving Totals
Remember all that talk about Miles Sanders becoming a 2,000 yards from scrimmage guy before the season? Well, cut that in half. Sanders totaled 1,064 yards from scrimmage this year, which led the team but was less than the 1,327 he put up last season.
His disappearance from the passing game shocked everyone. Last season he caught 50 passes for 509 yards and 3 TDs, compared to 28 catches for 197 this season, and he didn’t find the end zone as a receiver one time as the screen and wheel-route game all but disappeared from Pederson’s offense.
JJalen Reagora-Whiteside’s Receiving
It’s perhaps unfair to combine these two players but both were borderline abysmal in 2020.
Jalen Reagor dealt with injuries but, when he was on the field, he didn’t appear to have the juice. Everyone kept waiting for the breakout game, but it never came. This year’s first round pick caught 31 passes for 396 yards and one score, and one could watch an Eagles game and forget he was even on the field for long stretches. Yes, he was a rookie who dealt with a stilted off-season program, but other rookie wide receivers thrived under the same conditions, and his demeanor on the field was not encouraging. He just didn’t look like a very good player in 2020.
As for Arcega-Whiteside, last year’s second round selection continued to be a ghost. JJAW caught 4 passes for 85 yards.
Yes, those were his season totals.
Combined, the team’s highly drafted last two wide receivers accounted for 35 receptions and 481 yards with one touchdown. It’s just an incredibly awful level of production from two players drafted so highly.
The anemic Eagles offense overshadowed the general failure of a secondary largely devoid of talent and, in particular, the failure of the team’s cornerbacks to make big plays. The Birds paid top dollar for Darius Slay, who played well in ‘20, but still pulled down just one interception, against the Cowboys in Week 16. Even more shocking, it was the only interception made by an Eagles cornerback in 2020. As a team, Jim Schwartz’ defensed had only eight, with strong safety Marcus Epps the team leader with two.
How is it possible that an entire cornerback group can go through a 16-game season and get just one interception? You’d think a second or third would fall into their hands by accident, but time and time again, Eagles corners failed to make plays on the ball and pull off the pick. Cornerback is a major area of need moving forward.
Zach Ertz’ Everything
I recently wrote about the shockingly bad season Ertz had this year and its effect on Wentz and the rest of the offense. It was ugly.
One of the two or three best tight ends coming into the season, a guy who caught 74 or more passes every season 2015-19 and set a team record with 116 catches in 2018, pulled in just 36 of 72 targets for 335 yards and only one touchdown. He missed five games with an injury, but when he came back was virtually invisible. If Ertz has anything left in the tank, he must prove it for another team in 2021.
We’ll always remember Minneapolis, Zach. Thanks for the memories.
The 30-Point Barrier
The Eagles did not score 30 or more points in a single game this season. Oddly, the closest they came was against their two most difficult opponents, a 38-29 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5 and a 30-28 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens the week after. The Birds only scored more than 20 points twice in their last eight games.
That’s right, in the second half of the season, Doug Pederson’s offense only crossed the TWENTY-POINT barrier two times. I’m checking the math and... yep... that’s bad.
Travis Fulgham, Leading Receiver
Fulgham played in 49% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps this year and did not ascend from the practice squad until Week 4 against the 49ers. He was the NFL’s leading receiver from Weeks 4-8, suffered a drop-off in Weeks 10 and 11 (2 combined catches for 16 yards) and then was on the field for less than half the offense’s snaps in each of the team’s last six games, including Sunday night’s meaningless Week 17 loss to Washington.
And yet, Travis Fulgham led the Eagles in receiving yards, with 539, which says more about the state of the young receiving corps than it does Fulgham’s ability to be an impact player.
Doug Pederson’s handling of Fulgham was mystifying, although there were unconfirmed reports of lackluster practice habits that resulted in snaps going to noted hard-worker Alshon Jeffrey down the stretch. Fulgham’s future with the Eagles will be a huge question mark heading into the summer.
Jake Elliott’s Short Distance Kicking
Somehow, Elliott went 1-for-3 in kicks from 20-29 yards out and missed two more extra points this season. That’s four missed kicks from inside 35 yards and his 73.7% field goal percentage ranked 27th in the NFL among kickers with at least 10 attempts.
He did go 6-for-6 on kicks between 30-39 yards and 5-for-5 from 40-49 yards out, but just 2-for-5 from 50 or more.
Of course, kickers are the least of the Eagles problems after a season filled with some truly atrocious numbers across the board.