The players were different, but the similarities were freakishly similar between Philly’s last two 8-8 teams.
- In 2011, Eagles starter Michael Vick threw for 3,303 yards. In 2007, the Eagles starter, Donovan McNabb, threw for 3,324 yards, a difference of 21 yards. Michael Vick threw for 18 TDs and ran for one for a total of 19. McNabb threw for 19 TDs and ran for zero.
- Vince Young filled in for 3 games, threw 4 TDs and had 9 Ints. In 2007, AJ Feeley filled in for 2 1/2 games. He threw for 5 TDs and 8 Ints. Young had a Cmp% of 57.9. Feeley’s % was 57.3. Feeley ‘s two losses as starter (he went 0-2) were to the Seahawks and the Patriots. Vince Young’s two losses as starter (he went 1-2) were to the Seahawks and the Patriots.
- In 2007, Brian Westbrook led the team with 1,333 yards rushing. He was the 2nd leading rusher in the NFC. LeSean McCoy led the team in 2011 with 1,309 yards, a 24 yard difference. He was also the 2nd leading rusher in the NFC.
- In both years, the Eagles beat the Jets, Dolphins, Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants and lost to the Seahawks, Bears, Giants, and Patriots.
- In 2007, the Eagles held a 3-point lead heading into the 4th quarter against the Bears but blew it to fall 2 games below .500. In 2011, the Eagles held a 4-point lead heading into the 4th quarter against the Bears but blew it to fall 2 games below .500.
- The 2007 Eagles defense was 9th in points allowed. The 2011 Eagles were 10th in points allowed.
- Their primary kick returner in 2007 (Correll Buckhalter) averaged 21.6 yards per return. Their primary kick returner in 2011 (Dion Lewis) averaged 21.6 yards per return.
- Their kicker in 2007 (David Akers) made 24 field goals. Their field goal kicker in 2011 (Alex Henery) made 24 field goals.
- And of course in both years this team proved that nobody is better with the pressure off. In 2007, with the playoffs out of the question, they won the final 3 games of the season to finish 8-8 and save Andy Reid’s job. In 2011, with the playoffs out of the question, they won the final 4 games of the season to finish 8-8 and save Andy Reid’s job.
- (One final, kind of funny note: remember how much Reno Mahe drove us nuts in 2007 for being so bad at returning punts? He was actually quite a bit better than DeSean was this year. He averaged 8 yards per return. DeSean averaged 6.7.)
If you liked this column, be sure to check out Why We Hate Dallas, the story of the Philly pro basketball team funded by cocaine money, and our more or less insane coverage of the 1911 World Series presenting as if it were live.