The 2013 Philadelphia Eagles’ season is over, but that doesn’t mean the fanbase has to forget about the special memories this team provided.
In year one as an NFL coach, Chip Kelly guided the Birds to a 10-6 record and NFC East division title. His offense certainly clicked at the next level, as Philadelphia set its franchise record for points scored and total yards gained.
Nick Foles’ success as a second-year signal-caller was the biggest surprise, as many had questioned whether he possessed the physical tools to run Kelly’s offense. Foles’ season topped out with a seven-touchdown performance. That’s arguably the greatest single-game output by a Philadelphia Eagles player in NFL history.
But there were several memorable games by Eagles players. After all, this team sent five offensive players to the Pro Bowl and received strong contributions from a handful of defensive starters. Here’s a breakdown of the 25 best performances from the 2013 season.
Connor Barwin was one of the unsung heroes of the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a defensive leader who was brought over to play the 3-4 outside linebacker spot.
Barwin registered five sacks and seven passes defensed in 2013, and played well in stopping the run. In this contest against the New York Giants, he was at his best.
Barwin pressured Eli Manning five times, getting in the quarterback’s face all game. Manning was forced into throwing 28 incompletions, the third-highest single-game total of any QB for the whole season. In the running game, Barwin held running backs David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs to just 53 ground yards.
This game by Nick Foles came before he was the starter. Michael Vick was 1-3 for the season and left this contest early due to injury. The Philadelphia Eagles were up 16-7 in the second quarter when Foles entered the game.
He directed the Eagles to a late first-half field goal and then directed two fourth-quarter scoring drives to bring Philadelphia back from a 22-21 deficit. Foles finished with his usual solid numbers—he was 16-of-25 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, posting a 114.9 passer rating.
This win improved the Eagles to 2-3 and earned Foles the start the following week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Philadelphia Eagles lucked out in this game with Aaron Rodgers out due to a broken collarbone. It turned out to be the only playoff team Chip Kelly beat in year one, but it was a solid effort by the Eagles offense.
LeSean McCoy led the way, rushing 25 times for 155 yards. He was at his best in the game-clinching drive, helping the Eagles to a 16-play drive that ate up nine minutes of clock. McCoy ran for five yards, then six, seven, one, 14, nine, seven and, finally, one. That’s an All-Pro effort by a big-play back.
*Honorable mention goes to the Eagles offensive line. The five blockers paved the way for a terrific day from McCoy and allowed just one hurry to Nick Foles all game.
The defense gave up a lot of yards—560, in fact. That’s the most the Eagles had given up in eight years, and the second-most in the modern NFL era. But the defensive line was relentless in pressuring young, inexperienced quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Right defensive end Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage. They beat left guard Lucas Nix for 12 pressures. Right outside linebacker Trent Cole added five more of his own against left tackle Tony Pashos.
That’s 17 pressures from those three players, and that’s a big reason Pryor was sacked three times and threw two interceptions.
Mychal Kendricks was a relentless playmaker down the stretch, and he was all over the football in the Week 17 finale against the Dallas Cowboys.
Kendricks led the team with 12 tackles. He intercepted a pass, making a fabulous snag of an underthrown ball to Jason Witten. He forced a fumble and knocked down a pass. He did struggle in pass coverage, allowing a slew of receptions to Witten.
But in all, this was the kind of performance the Philadelphia Eagles were hoping for when they made him a second-round draft choice.
This was a pretty big game for Nick Foles and Co., considering the Arizona Cardinals were becoming one of the hotter teams in the NFC. All in all, it won’t be remembered as one of Foles’ elite games, but he was pretty darn good.
Foles completed 21 of his 34 passes for 237 yards. He threw three touchdowns and no interceptions (his late INT was called back due to a defensive penalty). Foles posted a 112.0 passer rating against a Cardinals defense that ended the season ranked eighth in defensive passer rating, per Cold Hard Football Facts.
Evan Mathis is one of the more remarkable free-agent signings in recent NFL history. He was added to the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles almost as an afterthought and has developed into far and above the league’s best guard over the past three seasons.
Mathis—who was finally added to his first-ever Pro Bowl team—was his usual elite self, week in and week out in ’13. Against the San Diego Chargers in Week 2, Mathis registered a +5.0 rating, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). That was his best individual total of this past season.
Mathis was instrumental in helping the Eagles’ offense rack up 30 points and over 520 yards of offense, a feat that hadn’t been done in Philadelphia in three seasons.
The Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t have won their Week 17 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys without their All-Pro back.
LeSean McCoy ran the ball 27 times for 131 yards and added a three-yard reception. That’s the sixth time in his career he recorded at least 27 carries, and the Eagles are 6-0 in those games.
McCoy was especially efficient down the stretch, running the ball seven times on the Eagles’ final 60-yard clinching drive.
LeSean McCoy quite literally ran all over the Chicago Bears in this game, helping the Philadelphia Eagles win by a whopping 43 points against a Bears team that was still fighting for the playoffs.
McCoy carried the ball 18 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns, adding six receptions for 29 yards out of the backfield. That’s 162 total yards and two scores on 24 touches.
McCoy was the first NFL player in three seasons (Peyton Hillis did it in 2010) to rush for at least 130 yards and two touchdowns in a game, while also catching six passes.
This wasn’t a great performance for the Philadelphia Eagles as a team, considering they lost to a vastly inferior Minnesota Vikings squad by 18 points.
But DeSean Jackson was dynamic in that contest. He finished with a 10-195-1 stat line. That’s his second-best single-game total for receiving yards, and the most receptions he’s ever had in a game.
His sideline rant after Nick Foles’ interception stole the show. It shouldn’t though, because Jackson was almost uncoverable in that game.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ rushing offense stole the show in this prime-time game, but the passing attack was just as lethal.
Nick Foles was surgical against a Chicago Bears team that was fighting for the NFC North division crown. Foles completed 84 percent of his passes, setting a single-game franchise record. He threw for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, finishing with a 131.7 passer rating.
That put Foles at 25 touchdown passes to just two picks for the ’13 season and made him 8-2 in games in which he saw significant action.
Before the season, this matchup really worried me. I actually picked Lane Johnson to struggle immensely in this contest, considering it was his first NFL game and he would be opposed by stud pass-rushing linebackers in Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.
Johnson played really well, though. He didn’t let up any sacks in 83 snaps, 33 of which came on passing plays. Johnson paved the way for the Philadelphia Eagles’ rushing attack, which put up 263 ground yards and two scores in a 33-27 win. For the day, Pro Football Focus rated Johnson as a +3.1, which is a Pro Bowl-caliber game (subscription required).
In Nick Foles’ record-tying seven-touchdown game, Riley Cooper was his go-to target. This was the same Cooper who caught a total of just eight passes in the first five weeks of the season.
Cooper finished with five catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 33-27 win. He looked big and strong and fast and just abused cornerback D.J. Hayden and safety Brandian Ross all game.
Remember when Michael Vick was the starting QB for this offense? In the Week 1 win over the Washington Redskins, Vick played a terrific game.
He completed 60 percent of his 25 passing attempts, throwing for 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a 112.6 passer rating. He rushed nine times for 54 yards and a touchdown. Vick did commit a costly turnover on the first drive, but it didn’t matter in the long haul as the Philadelphia Eagles won 33-27.
This was a magnificent game by Nick Foles and his second win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in as many years.
Foles was 22-of-31 passing for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He posted a 133.3 passer rating. He ran for a touchdown, too. And this came against a defense that was substantially improved from last year’s group.
The Buccaneers had added free-agent cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson. This was an 0-4 team, but their defense had been playing pretty well, and Foles just picked them apart.
Mychal Kendricks turned in a Pro Bowl game almost every week in December. He was at his best in the Week 16 win over the Chicago Bears, making play after play.
Kendricks finished with five tackles, a tackle for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. That gave Kendricks 13 tackles and three sacks in a two-game span. In coverage, Kendricks held Martellus Bennett to just four catches for 46 yards.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ second-year nickel cornerback quite literally saved the day. With the Eagles narrowly protecting a 24-22 lead over the Dallas Cowboys, Brandon Boykin stepped in front of a pass intended for slot receiver Cole Beasley and picked it off.
This allowed Philly to run the clock down, preserving a 2013 NFC East division title. For the game, Boykin was targeted four times in pass coverage. He allowed just a single completion, recording two passes defensed and a game-sealing interception.
The Philadelphia Eagles lost this matchup against longtime Philly head coach, Andy Reid. But it wasn’t the defense to blame for this one.
Cornerback Cary Williams was particularly effective, shutting down Pro Bowl receiver Dwayne Bowe. Williams allowed just two completions for 11 yards on four total passes. In all, Alex Smith still threw for 274 yards because he found Donnie Avery across the middle for slant route after slant route. But this was Williams’ finest game of the season per Pro Football Focus, as he checked in at a +3.7 rating.
Jason Peters looked like the 2011 version of himself in the Snow Bowl win over the Detroit Lions. At times, he was 20 yards downfield opening up holes for LeSean McCoy.
Peters graded out as a +5.2, which was his second-highest individual game of 2013, per Pro Football Focus. Peters didn’t allow a single sack, hurry or QB hit, and he helped McCoy set a franchise single-game record for rushing yards.
LeSean McCoy sure opened the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2013 season with a bang. In his first game back following a concussion that derailed his previous campaign, McCoy carried the team on his back.
He ran the ball a career-high 31 times, totaling 184 yards and a touchdown. McCoy was so gassed that he was barely able to finish the game, but that should be expected considering he set a single-game high in rushing attempts.
That was the sixth-highest single-game total of any NFL player this season. It kick-started the Chip Kelly era with a bang, putting the Eagles on the national map as an offensive powerhouse.
Cary Williams didn’t win over many Philadelphia fans in the offseason. But once the season started, none of that mattered.
Williams was absolutely magnificent in his debut. He blanked Pierre Garcon all game, holding the eventual NFL leader in receptions to just a single catch for nine yards.
Williams was targeted five times in pass coverage, allowing just the one catch. He recorded a diving interception and a pass defensed.
For the game, Pro Football Focus rated Williams as a +3.7. That’s Williams’ best mark of the season, and actually the best of his career.
By the second half of 2013, Trent Cole was back to being one of the more underrated defensive players in the league.
He posted the highest single-game rating (+6.7) of any Philadelphia Eagles defensive player this season, per Pro Football Focus. Cole harassed Carson Palmer relentlessly, picking up a pair of sacks, two quarterback hits and three hurries.
He added two tackles and helped the Eagles come away with a 24-21 win against a red-hot Arizona Cardinals team that was really fighting for a playoff spot.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ 54-11 rout of the Chicago Bears was a phenomenal performance by Chip Kelly’s offense, and the offensive line was as good as it has ever been.
The front five—Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson—helped Philly rush for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Only two NFL teams in the past three seasons have rushed for at least 289/4 in the same game, and both times it was the Eagles in December of this year (the Detroit game was the other).
Per Pro Football Focus, Peters rated as a +6.9, which was his best individual performance of 2013. Mathis was a +4.1, Kelce was a +2.0 and Herremans put up his second-best mark of the year at +3.1. As a unit, the team didn’t allow a single hurry to quarterback Nick Foles.
LeSean McCoy’s performance in the Snow Bowl was the type that could get him MVP votes. The Philadelphia Eagles trailed the Detroit Lions 8-0 at halftime and 14-0 in the third quarter because McCoy put the team on his back.
In the snow and a near-impossible field, McCoy finished with 29 carries, 217 yards and two touchdowns, as the Eagles won 34-20 and continued their quest to an NFC East title. McCoy’s 217 yards set the single-game franchise record.
And in a span of three carries early in the fourth quarter, McCoy went 40 yards, six yards and then 57 yards, scoring on two of those plays.
What other game could possibly be first on this list? Nick Foles was as good in this game as any quarterback has ever been in any game in the history of the National Football League.
Foles completed 22 of his 28 passing attempts for 406 yards. He tied a single-game NFL record with seven touchdown passes, doing so before the game even reached the fourth quarter. He didn’t throw an interception and finished with a perfect passer rating.
It’s the highest passer rating ever by a QB to throw seven touchdowns in a game. Foles threw more touchdowns (seven) than incompletions (six). His 14.5 yards per attempt was the fifth-highest mark ever for a QB with at least 28 passing attempts. And Foles was the first QB in 10 years to throw for 400 yards in a game on 22 or fewer completions. Not a bad day at the office for a guy who was the team’s backup QB a week before.