Saturday, April 19, 2014
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The Eagles are running the ball like no other team over the last 30 years

The Eagles have run for 161.9 yards per game this season. If they can keep that average up above 160 on the season, they will be 1 of 20 teams to have averaged at least 160 rushing yards per game in the last 30 years. What's interesting about that fact is the way they've done it. First, let's list those teams:

The Eagles are running the ball like no other team over the last 30 years

LeSean McCoy runs against the Bears on Sunday, Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
LeSean McCoy runs against the Bears on Sunday, Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

The Eagles have run for 161.9 yards per game this season. If they can keep that average up above 160 on the season, they will be 1 of 20 teams to have averaged at least 160 rushing yards per game in the last 30 years. What's interesting about that fact is the way they've done it. First, let's list those teams:

All of the above teams (with perhaps the exception of the Eagles) have a very good reason why they ran for so many yards. They all fall into 1 of 3 distinct buckets:

Bucket #1: They ran the ball a ton. The 8 teams who have their total number of carries listed in the "reason" column all ran the ball at least 33 times per game.

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Bucket #2: They had a running QB contributing significant numbers to the rushing total. The only stretch here would be the 2007 Vikings, who got a little less than 300 yards from Tarvaris Jackson, although that team could also be put in the first bucket, since running was all they could do (they were 28th in passing).

Bucket #3: They had a running back absolutely go off.

The 2013 Eagles almost fit a few of those parameters.

• They do run the ball quite a bit, but nothing like the 8 teams who make the list above for that reason. On the season the Eagles have 29 rushing attempts per game, or 4 fewer per game than the lowest team listed above for that reason.

• Also they HAD a running QB (Vick) who was contributiung significant numbers to the rushing attack, but he only played 4+ games this year.

• While Lesean McCoy leads the league in rushing, he hasn't had a season quite like the players noted on the list above. McCoy has 1476 rushing yards this season. The lowest player listed is LaDainian Tomlinson's 2006 season, when he ran for 1815 yards. All the other teams on this list who had a RB go off ran for over 2000 yards. McCoy could break the single game rushing record Week 17 and still not even catch LT's 2006 season.

But here's what makes the Eagles season running the ball so impressive. If you take each of the above 20 teams, and list how many passing yards they had in the corresponding season, the Eagles blow them all out of the water:

*projected

The difference between this Eagles team and the other great running teams over the last 30 years are that the Eagles are equally adept at throwing it. Their run game is a tool. It's not the only thing they can do. And yet, they're still one of the best at it over the last 30 years.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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